Follow-up July 4, 2019:
Going-through my list of accounts and deleting some that I no longer require, I had a visit again to dock.io.
Although I'm sympathetic with the goals expressed on the landing page, it isn't clear to me that this is not anything more than a site set up to mine personal data. The passages about transfer of data upon sale of the site are of particular concern.
As such, this is mea culpa regarding the original post, which now follows.
p.s. July 8, 2019:
In response, I got four tracking links and an invitation to follow them.
I was a LinkedIn early adopter in 2007. My profile there was very complete and well connected. In April, 2017 I got freaked-out about privacy and an update to LinkedIn terms. (What about them in particular I don’t recall.) I deleted my account.
However I’ve found that professionally, not having a LinkedIn presence can be a show stopper. If nothing else, we look people up there to check pedigree. A profile on LinkedIn has become part of what we use to establish trust.
By allowing LinkedIn to become a trusted arbiter of pedigree, we have given them a tremendous amount of power. Enter Dock.io.
Dock.io supports a clearing-house for professional data such as educational background, work history, professional connections, skills, accomplishments, recommendations, and ratings. The premise is that you, the person to whom the data refers, have control over the data. And further, that the data is in an open format that many third parties can read from and write to, granted access.
My feeling about this is that it could change the landscape of professional pedigree just a little bit:
- Now my universities can write a signed diploma into my education history.
- Now my employers can write signed records of start and end date, position and salary into my employment history.
- Now clients can write ratings and recommendations into my consulting history.
Now I’m not only who I say I am, but who other people say I am.
Consumers of the data can trust that it is valid, and trust the provenance of the data because Dock.io puts it in a public, distributed block chain. (The block chain rewards the proof of work with units of cryptocurrency that have some value in trade, as a commodity or security, for fiat currency in an open market.)
While the block chain is readable by anyone, my encrypted professional record is available only to someone who has a key that I have provided to them. And this is cool, because now:
- we have control over the keys
- we can monitor who reads the data
- we can monitor who writes the data
As pointed out in the opening, LinkedIn has already become a necessary part of professional life (at least in the United States). Dock.io would like to replace it, with benefit that it offers an open solution.
Supposing Dock.io is successful, all of us will need to have our professional pedigree in the chain in order to be professionally employed. Employers will start to require access to write performance data, perhaps. We’re talking about the equivalent of a credit history, credit report, or credit score. However it won’t be only about getting loans, which can be optional. It will be about getting work, which can be vital. Footnote
This bothers me more than a little, but here we have somewhat of an opportunity to choose our poison. If LinkedIn accomplished the same, as they are well along the road to doing, our data is in private hands, and for sale to unknown, unaccountable third parties. With Dock.io our data is in a distributed block chain owned by no-one, that we nominally control access to.
I say nominally because parties will begin to require access, and it will be more and more necessary to provide it. The big difference will be that we know who asked. However once granted, how do we know how the party to whom we granted the access further shares the data? That will be up to the policies of the parties to whom we grant access. It will be up to us to insist on strict no-share policies. Or rather, you share, but only in my Dock.io record where I see you sharing, see, and nominally control who views.
Dock.io offers some hope that unlike our credit data, that is always for sale, our personal professional record can be under our own control. That we succeed, I think, depends on regulatory policy. In short, I think we’re doomed.
And elect people who understand what a sieve the current theater of privacy has become.
Credit history does cross the line into vital territory. Some employers require good credit history for certain job roles. Many or most landlords require good credit history to rent apartments.