Media: Reuters Story On Data Sharing May Overstate Problem
Over the weekend, Reuters' Stephanie Simon wrote a piece about inBloom, the new Gates-funded data-sharing intiative, that raises concerns about student privacy: K-12 student database jazzes tech startups, spooks parents. According to Simon, the $100M initiative is poised to be tremendously influential -- and controversial -- because of the possiblity that student data including Social Security numbers would be gathered from states and shared among educators.
However, there are some questions about Reuters story. For example, inBloom says Social Security numbers are not included in its data store and that the use of the data will be done at the direction of school districts. [Via Twitter, Simon says "inBloom rep told me some social sec #s included; now says no; I'll verify w schools, correct if needed."]
I'm no edtech fanboy, and generally enjoy and appreciate Simon's education coverage. (There's a quote at the end of her story about edtech hype that is awesome.) But this piece, like her last one on charter school shenanigans, seems somewhat alarmist and goes out past the edges of the data shared in the story.
Are there problems with state databases being being hacked and releasing sensitive student data? Tell us about them. How do these issues compare to data security problems in general? How many states include Social Security data in their student records, and how does this compare with other public agency databases, which have their own Social Security problems? Once again, some context and comparative data would be more helpful than isolated data points suggestively linked together to convey fear.