InBloom doomed by privacy concerns

Privacy and security concerns doomed the InBloom Student Data Repository, reports the New York Times. The Gates-funded non-profit, which offered to manage student records, will close.

The system was meant to extract student data from disparate school grading and attendance databases, store it in the cloud and funnel it to dashboards where teachers might more effectively track the progress of individual students.

But inBloom was set to collect more than academic data, notes the Times.

An inBloom video offered a vision (using fictional students) of new uses for data in education.An inBloom video offered a vision (using fictional students) of new uses for data in education.

The inBloom database included more than 400 different data fields that school administrators could fill in.

. . . some of the details seemed so intimate — including family relationships (“foster parent” or “father’s significant other”) and reasons for enrollment changes (“withdrawn due to illness” or “leaving school as a victim of a serious violent incident”) — that parents objected, saying that they did not want that kind of information about their children transferred to a third-party vendor.

Parents in Louisiana were upset to learn their children’s Social Security numbers had been uploaded to inBloom. 

With states and school districts bailing, inBloom wilted.


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  1. Sigivald says:

    Shows enthusiasm?

    Pretend you care, kids!.

    Otherwise at only 76% showing enthusiasm, the bar by your face will be red. And we all know what that means.

    (It means once you’ve escaped compulsory education nobody will ever care about that again, and you can excel in college if you like.)

  2. Jerry Doctor says:

    While I’m glad to hear InBloom is dying, it cannot overcome my sorrow that it existed in the first place.

  3. cranberry says:

    I am astounded InBloom used student social security numbers. Talk about creating a “permanent record!!”

    Why could those involved not see how creepy this is? Did they plan to allow students or parents any input into their records?

  4. Good riddance to bad rubbish. Unfortunately, I’m sure that somewhere, someday, someone will get the bright idea to resurrect it quietly.

    Eternal vigilance is necessary ~

  5. I believe the quote is:

    Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Liberty (original attribution to John Curran)