9 NOV. 2022
11:30 HE/ET

Kelly Bronson, Jonathan W. Y. Gray, Sarah-Louise Ruder, Rian Wanstreet, & Jonathan Van Geuns

Dear Fellow Members and Friends

For at least the last few years, the news-media has spotlighted a big debate over who collects what kind of data on whom and for what purposes.  More often than not the focus has been on the protection of privacy from commercial exploitation.  But, as computers and various informational technologies (informatics) – notably tied to the Internet but also more broadly – permeate more sectors and are brought to bear on solving a greater variety of problems on behalf of a greater variety of people, the debate over governance and regulation of data is widening in scope

   As the world’s population continues to grow (meaning more mouths to feed) and destructive impacts of climatic change escalate (lowering crop-yields), food security globally is a matter of increasing focus.  As we may expect, there is growing interest inharnessing informatics in the pursuit of agricultural production.  And so agriculture becomes an arena of debate over the regulation of collection and exploitation of data.

   On November 9/Wednesday at 11:30AM, the University of Ottawa will bring togetherfive experts (two of whom have worked for the UN) from Canada, the USA and Europe to parse some of the emerging issues in “Regulating Big Data in Agriculture”

   For more details on the issues and speakers, and to register to attend virtually, please see below

Yours, Shane Roberts (President)

National Capital Region Branch (NCRB), United Nations Association in Canada

On behalf of NCRB’s Executive Committee: Tara-Marie Andronek (Past President), Georgina Bencsik, and Barb Darling, and associates Laura Bradbury and Madison Kennedy-Jones. 

S’inscrire | Register now

Join us for a conversation on the datafication of agriculture and the need for governance and regulatory frameworks to support social justice in the collection and uses of farm data. Data governance and regulation has become a growing concern in both public debates and among scholars coming from various disciplinary fields. Discussions have primarily been centered around data collected by platforms and corporations, and the need to regulate these data-mining processes and the uses – and misuses – of personal information. Meanwhile, other domains, such as agriculture, have been less a of focus of these regulatory conversations, presumably due to the different legal status of environmental data, and agriculture’s distance to urban centers where policies are primarily made and debated. Yet, the growing datafication of agriculture makes evident the need to raise attention around data regulatory issues in this domain.  

The panel will discuss the state of data regulation in agriculture. What makes agriculture a potentially distinct site for digital data collection – i.e., environmental law, unpredictable (weather) conditions, costs, corporate players? How is it similar to other domains where discussions have been more extensive, such as social media and health data use? Is the much-heralded call for “open data” or “public data” the solution for confronted powerful data corporations, and does it equate to full information access and social justice more broadly? This event is presented as part of the Alex Trebek Forum for Dialogue’s Project on AI for Healthy Humans and Environments, hosted by the AI + Society Initiative. You can learn more about our research program on AI and Environment here.   


Dr. Kelly Bronson is the Canada Research Chair in Science and Society, a Faculty member at the Centre for Law, Technology, and Society, and an Associate Professor within the School of Sociological and Anthropological Studies in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Ottawa. She is a social scientist studying the social and environmental justice issues surrounding controversial technologies (GMOs, fracking, big data & AI) and their governance. Her research aims to bring community values into conversation with technical knowledge in the production of evidence-informed decision-making. She leads several grant-funded projects looking at emergent technologies used in agriculture and in environmental impact assessment and has just published a new book called The Immaculate Conception of Data: agribusiness, activists and their shared politics of the future (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2022).

 Jonathan W. Y. Gray is Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Critical Infrastructure Studies at the Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London, where he is currently writing a book on data worlds. He is also Cofounder of the Public Data Lab and Research Associate at the Digital Methods Initiative (University of Amsterdam) and the médialab (Sciences Po, Paris). 

Sarah-Louise Ruder is a PhD candidate at the University of British Columbia’s Institute for Resources, Environment, and Sustainability, a UBC Public Scholar, and a Researcher at the University of the Fraser Valley’s Food and Agriculture Institute. Interdisciplinary by training, Sarah-Louise is an environmental social scientist studying food and agriculture in Canada. Her research explores transitions to more sustainable, food sovereign, and just food systems and the politics of novel agri-food technologies. As part of her PhD work and public scholarship, she is investigating challenges and opportunities for data governance and data justice with the increasing digitalization of the food system, working alongside LiteFarm, OpenTEAM, and the FAO’s Improving Global Agriculture Data community of practice.

 Rian Wanstreet is a PhD Candidate at the University of Washington in Communication/Science, Technology, & Society. Her work sits at the intersection of adoption, media, security infrastructure, and algorithmic mediation. She is an affiliate at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society and a non-residential Fellow at the Center for Media and Data Studies at Central European University. She currently works for OpenTEAM, a collaborative, community-driven initiative focused on improving soil health and advancing agriculture’s ability to become a solution to climate change through the development of an interoperable suite of open-source tools. 

Jonathan Van Geuns is both a researcher and practitioner; he has gained expertise on all subjects related to innovation and data governance. Recently he has worked on seminal research and the design of data governance frameworks for UNICEF, the United States Agency for International Development, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Mozilla Foundation, and the City of Montreal, where he currently resides. He is trained in public international law, and has over a decade of experience working across sectors of development aid, access to data and information, participatory design, and innovation management, among others. 

 Cet évènement sera en virtuel. Cet événement est gratuit et public. Néanmoins, l’inscription est obligatoire. Cet événement sera en anglais seulement. Cet événement sera enregistré et des photos pourraient être prises.

This event will be virtual. This is a free event, open to everyone. However, registration is required. This event will be in English only. The event will be recorded, and photos may be taken. Cet événement est présenté par le  Projet sur l’IA pour des humains et environnements sains du Forum Alex-Trebek pour le dialogue à l’Initiative IA + Société , en collaboration avec le Centre de recherche en droit, technologie et société, l’Institut de recherche sur la science, la société et la politique publique et le Centre en droit, éthique et politique de la santé .

This event is presented by the  Alex Trebek Forum for Dialogue Project on AI for Healthy Humans and Environments at the  AI + Society Initiative , in collaboration with the Centre for Law, Technology and Society, the Institute for Science, Society and Policy  and the Centre for Health Law, Policy and EthicsTwitterFacebookLinkedInInstagramYouTubeWebsiteCentre de recherche en droit, technologie et société
Université d’Ottawa

Pour plus d’informations, visitez :
droittech.uottawa.caCentre for Law, Technology and Society
University of Ottawa

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