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On blockchain and personal data requirements in Education

Posted 2 years ago
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The educational providers are required to protect the personal information of their students, however, they tend to lack the relevant expertise and/or technology needed to implement cost efficient personal data management solution. The currently deployed solutions are both logistically challenging and costly. There is a clear need for a holistic solution to digital data management. We discuss procs and cons of blockchain based solutions in light of the personal data protection legal requirements.

The original data, documents, certificates, deeds and other assets represented in the block are kept secure and as well as the information about any changes done to it. The blockchain technology also provide an efficiently way of verifying the information integrity. Putting this in educational context this means that the exam results once recorded in the blockchain or attendance records cannot be manipulated. The time of any changes including, deleting and adding the data is recorded. This is very efficient solution to ensure the information integrity stored in the blockchain. Please make a note that the the full set of data is stored in each block of the same chain and the data leaks are potentially possible due the technical fault at the specific block, successful fishing expedition or whistleblowing. Additionally, the information can be become potentially vulnerable when the legitimate access to the chain obtained by improper means or as a result of unfortunate behaviour by the information owner. .

Therefore, i the blockchain technology does not address the all aspects of information security, specifically, the access to the information in the chain remain the responsibility of the information owner. The educational providers should be careful when choosing the blockchain technology provider to store the personal data in it’s blockchain and has to keep the access details secure.

This is a work in progress at present and I welcome anyone to chip in a thought or two... thank you.

4 Replies

Hi Vladimir,

It's an interesting idea using a blockchain for academic records and related. I have some thoughts about that.

Why do you need to store the full set of data in the blockchain? I find this a bit of an overkill because think the huge amount of students data the you would be replicating in all the nodes. Depending on the blockchain you use, this can become too inefficient for the blockchain (the blockchain gets too large and setting up a node becomes very expensive) or too expensive for users (price you pay per byte).

Why not storing just a hash of the data in the blockchain? In that way you can always be sure that the data didn't change because the hashes match. That would be extremely small compared to the full dataset. If you still want a decentralized location for the data, you could try IPFS.

Also, what happens when the data needs to change? Let's say, some grades are wrong and the teachers needs to update them. I think this is another application of storing the hash of the data. You could still change the data but save hashes with timestamps so in that way you can verify the consistency of the data in time.

Cool topic!

Just want to post an update on this project. We recently discovered that Data Bins are free service provided by Wolfram to store anything, we have also realised that we can use QR codes for the same. Therefore, we have moved to calling this ‘My Diary’ : every learner has My Diary where all his marks and achievement points are recorded. The beauty of this approach is the fact that My Diary does not have any personal data, the data format is : ( date, achievement name, achievement type, award ) where an achievement type is one of the following {House Point, Maths, Physics, ICT....}. Only we can edit this QR object, but user does not need any name or password to display it’s content. Thus, parents or anybody with learner’s permission can see it’s content. We can also have a copy of it in case learner does not have it anymore.

The problem is they will lose everything if they want to...

Hi Vladimir,

Thanks for the update. So how does the data stored in a databin is connected to a blockchain?

https://spikeyu.com/

Solution 1 Learner Self Registration Using given QR user opens URL where shows his Spikey U ID to get access to this personal URL without personal data.

User takes his photo, provides his name and choses 4 digit access pin to get issued an Spikey U ID with encoded URL.

User books a lesson at certain ore specified time and link would be provided on his URL when he logs in,

Lesson

At first lesson tutor confirms his Spikey U ID and conducts training using Zoom with report generated and published on user URL.

Lost Spikey U ID . If it is lost we issue new one but user is invited to use old pin if it is possible. to automatically connect his learning records.

Access Outside of Lesson Only to book a lesson or book an access to learning records.

Access To Learning Records Log in at the web site at the time sslot scheduled to get your learning records shown on your web site.

We did a bit differently to have extra level of protection We would probably direct every user via Zoom for face validation before releasing learning records.

We do not have URL in existence when user is not around: URL is a door to lesson or to learning records. Once Log Out pressed we delete URL, save learning records and no information about access is saved.

If Id is lost but PIN is also forgotten we manually look for it using his ID or anything he remembered about his records.

I kinda like it because we do not publish any data online and no need to pay for hosting. We store it locally in our office on Zoom Receptionist on duty..

Receptionist is a safe guard from all possible attacks and nobody knows about our Zoom lessons as it is not published or sent out. therefore we do not need user’s details to contact him or her. Learners always contact us......

Only one rebooking, UrL will be available only during lesson hour.

Registered for a wrong reason, booked once, booked twice, wait till time booked....

Any comments?

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