Yes, privacy matters. While some of you see privacy as a lost cause already, many, MANY of you raised the issue of privacy. In an internet world where we’ve seen the impacts of public shaming, that seems like a good starting place for starting the discussion, especially given that edublocks are your profile of skills, competencies, and interests in this scenario.
There were many questions about privacy tools and approaches to managing privacy, and whether that could be handled in The Ledger scenario at all…but more on the technology below.
First, let’s look at one of the biggest concerns: kids and privacy:
Is The Ledger a lifelong record of learning and when does it begin?
There are, in fact, laws about protecting the privacy of children’s educational records:
But independent of laws, kids’ privacy is one of the big challenges that worried many of you.
Another privacy-related issue is the QUALITY of education, and the quality of learning represented by an edublock. How can you compare the quality of edublocks and ultimately their value if they are not public? Some see radical transparency as the solution, but it’s not a satisfying answer to everyone:
For some, opt-in/opt-out choices—where you pay for privacy—might be a solution. But paying for privacy raises questions of equity, too.
And then there’s the question of whether analytics that run on top of The Ledger–for example, to predict future performance–would ultimately disadvantage some or even disincentivize some. Who could run those analytics and who would have access to the results?
Now for what might be the GOOD NEWS: If edublocks use a blockchain technology, issues of privacy may be a lot easier to resolve than on the open internet. Blockchain architectures are designed to be both private and transparent at the same time. They are designed to put the owner of, say, an edublock, in control of the encryption key for that block. Individuals own their own data and only make it public when they want to. (At least, that’s the theory.) Of course, The Ledger and edublocks are just a scenario, and we don’t need to debate the details of the fictional technology to acknowledge that in any world where we trade our public records for credits, for money, for reputation, and even for friendship, privacy matters.