The Ethical Data Alliance is putting the power of cannabis data back into the hands of people
By Allison Cohn
The Ethical Data Alliance (EDA) was built around the desire to compile knowledge and data regarding cannabis breeding. In their own words, they are “a collection of breeders, growers, supply chain operators, researchers, geneticists, doctors, lawyers, software developers, writers and advocates who support the open study and understanding of cannabis and all medicinal plants.”
Cannabis growers have valuable data, and if collected properly, it has the potential to educate the community for the better; advancing the cannabis industry as a whole towards the future. The EDA is working to do something about that while empowering growers.
ETHICAL DATA IS THE ANSWER
Angela Bacca volunteers for the EDA and possesses an MBA with fifteen years in cannabis media, research, business and policy advocacy. Bacca preaches the value and importance of cannabis data collection, elaborating how never before seen strains came to light during previous data collection attempts. But then along came “predatory patenting,” with patent trolls staking claims to things that weren’t theirs.
“We know there’s enough data out there to answer all the questions,” says Bacca, “but no one’s going to share it with each other if no one trusts one another. When we begin to share the data with one another, we will actually start to learn things.”
The founders of the EDA knew that a few core scenarios needed to be in place in order for this data collection to become successful. “People need autonomy,” explains Bacca. “They need to be able to make money from their data, and the model needs to be decentralized. There needs to be no leader or governing board that can potentially be corrupted. The main goal of the EDA is to facilitate responsible and ethical sharing of data to support research and findings.”
The EDA is a project of the nonprofit Green Aid. They work with donated data, where people opt-in to share their information to the blockchain — meaning that data isn’t owned by anybody, but is accessible to everybody with the owner's permission.
They may choose to opt out at any time. Christian Saucier, who works in technology advisory for the EDA, explains further by saying, “The network data is decentralized and always under the control of the owner.” This means that by donating access to the EDA, the owners are empowering not-for-profit public interest research.
Like other blockchain solutions, this is working as the reverse model of some big tech giants such as Facebook or Google, who control user’s data and use it to turn a personal profit. The EDA keeps the control of data in the hands of those it belongs to; meaning that it’s an informed choice when people decide to share their data.
HOW IS IT MADE POSSIBLE?
The Ethical Data Exchange Network (EDEN) provides the decentralized technology to make the EDA’s goal a reality. In short, while EDA is the organization, EDEN is the software.
Saucier writes, “EDEN is a public suite of protocols designed to facilitate exchange of information between supply-chain member-participants. EDEN defines four classes of data services. These services can be implemented on any blockchain network or software platform.”
The four classes of data services are:
Data Notary Protocol
Protects data provenance and ownership
Enables supply chain traceability
Data Catalog Protocol
Organizes data in standardized structures
Publish public data catalog to network
Publish data access conditions
Enables indexing & search of data catalog
Data Exchange Protocol
Discovery of available data
Communication with data provider
Validates conditions of exchange
Exchanges control or enables access to data
Node Reputation Protocol
Implements web-of-trust between peers
Validation of claims using WoT evidence model
Basic reputation algo based on data published
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
As stated on their website, the EDA seeks to support the study of not just cannabis, but all medicinal plants. Currently, the FDA drug approval model disincentivizes the use and study of herbal products, leading to a lack of information and knowledge. With the EDA utilizing EDEN, a platform for sharing data about medicinal plants can be created that helps to spread valuable information and education.
The data will solve lots of problems but answering questions and encouraging people to share without taking advantage of one another, or worrying about being taken advantage of -- this in turn will lend to carving out space for good players, specifically in the cannabis industry.
Author and “Guru of Ganja” Ed Rosenthal speaks to another benefit of data sharing. “More information can lead to better breeding.” Rosenthal is one of the founders of Green Aid. “If you’re a breeder, the universal data can protect you in terms of ownerships and patents. On the other hand, what has happened with society for thousands of years may occur, where things that would be a professional operation of one sort or another will become something people can do at home, once the data becomes available.” Rosenthal predicts that, once the technology becomes more readily available, home growing cannabis will become normalized over time, like home brewing beer.
The EDA has quickly established itself as a collective of cannabis industry professionals, striving to enforce contractual codes of conduct for ethical data sharing in order to simultaneously learn and educate. With its member-donated access, they hope to contribute valuable information to research initiatives and public interest.
At the end of the day, the Ethical Data Alliance benefits anybody who cares about cannabis. That includes stakeholders, patients, lawyers, growers, breeders and farmers.
Tamerlane Trading is proud to feature and support the Ethical Data Alliance. You can support the EDA by donating to them via the Paypal link at the bottom of their website. Follow them on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.
Allison Cohn loves gold spray paint and nonsense. She also has a very difficult time sitting still and keeping quiet. She can often be found dancing like a fool when she isn’t hiding out in her mountain lair or gallivanting around the globe.