Giving up privacy for the benefits of precision farming?

Agriculture plays a crucial role in all societies, and innovative technologies in precision farming can enable a wide range of benefits. Often, these benefits come with a cost: an increased risk of losing control of proprietary information. 

How does precision farming work? 

More and more farmers implement precision farming solutions to enhance crop yields and reduce operating costs. Many platforms and solutions are available to determine where irrigation is needed in the field, if there is a pest spreading, if the soil needs more fertilization, etc. All in all, it is getting easy to do just the right actions in the field. Consequently, it is saving time and resources and reducing the farm’s ecological footprint. Farmers often turn to providers installing fixed sensors, drones, or monitoring the environment using data collected by agricultural machinery, like tractors, plowing machines, or similar. They combine the data with topographical and climate data and satellite imagery. Then, they use it as input to model algorithms driven by AI/ML and spatial analysis (GIS). These algorithms create prescription files for agriculture machines – instructions about the right actions to take in the field. 

What is the problem with the current solutions? 

When we use any connected device, our proprietary data will be shared with the provider of the device. In the case of precision farming, this data is often passed further to a data processor, who has developed the necessary algorithms to manipulate the data – to turn it into actionable insights. What can the end user farmer do in this situation? Either they can choose not to benefit from these solutions, or they have to accept to give up their privacy. It often means risking that competitors use this information to take advantage of their economic situation. This may even result in higher rental prices or other disadvantages. Imagine thousands of sensors that collect data on the air, soil, and plant health and development installed on modern machinery. Losing control of that data equals losing control of valuable business assets.

Due to the sensitive nature of this data, the data processors often don’t use proprietary information, only publicly available data, such as meteorological data or satellite images. T-kartor did this before discovering the opportunities lying in confidential computing

The T-kartor story

T-kartor has provided geospatial data and services for clients in defence and municipalities, such as the cities of London, Paris, and New York (, the Swedish Transport Administration, and many other large customers since 1985. They have technical excellence in secure scalable geoweb systems, cartography and data-driven GIS, which they can leverage in precision farming. The Swedish society Hushållningssällskapet provides a decision-support system,, to help farmers improve their processes with input from AI-driven models. The platform is a free service as it compiles and provides publicly available data.  Adding agricultural machinery data into this model results in better predictions and more insights. Contrary to widely used practices overlooking privacy considerations, T-Kartor and CanaryBit are beginning a co-operation to address this use case in the agriculture domain, to ensure that every interaction with the data happens in an encrypted space. 

How does encrypted data collaboration work? 

Agricultural machinery data is processed by T-kartor’s advanced multi-dimensional deep learning models. The data goes through scope-limited data collaboration while its secrecy is protected. It is like cooking with ingredients you don’t see, yet having a hearty meal as a result: the Confidential Cloud ensures reliable digital trust as the data doesn’t have to be shared between the data owner and the processor.  This is a great way to monetize data without compromising privacy. It is built based on confidential computing and remote attestation – making collaborations risk-free from a cyber security perspective. 

Are you invested in cybersecurity or data management in precision farming? 

Join our community of data providers on the Confidential Cloud platform: discover new ways to leverage your data in a safe environment without the risk of compromising your privacy. 

Read more about the use case of confidential computing in precision farming here.

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