Shortly after inBloom was launched at SXSW, I chatted with some guys who worked at a ed data startup and attended the inaugural presentations. They were a bit non-plussed, because they felt like inBloom was way more interested in "ingesting" data than... the opposite, so it wasn't of obvious value to them. To make their jobs easier, they'd want to get data out. Whether or not that is true or accurate today, let's go with that premise a bit.
Most inBloom critics seem to be concerned that inBloom is going to allow too much access to children's data, either accidentally, through a security breach, or intentionally, but just making it too easy for vendors to see too much.
Regarding security, there's not much inBloom can say other than "We'll be at least as secure as the people who already have this data!" (i.e., your school or their current vendor).
Regarding exactly what data will be offered to vendors and under what terms, inBloom have been oddly unable to respond convincingly. It absolutely seems like they're hiding something; I just don't get what they're up to.
When you have this kind of disjuncture -- where even the PR is just off key -- it is likely that the two sides are modelling the issue in fundamentally different ways.
To use a banking metaphor, in the current debate, the potential bank customers are saying "How do we know you won't get robbed or just give all the money away to your friends?" What inBloom may be thinking is "Don't these people understand that the whole point of being a bank is that you gain a lot of profit and influence just by keeping people's money safe?" That is, if inBloom loses or gives away too easily its only asset -- a giant pool of student information -- it will collapse like a data-driven Ponzi scheme, or at best limp along as a perpetual embarrassment to its benefactors and managers. This is probably perfectly clear to people at inBloom, but not obvious to outsiders.
Put another way, a big data breach would cost inBloom's staff way more than it would any individual parent and child.
The real problem with inBloom is that if they are circumspect and strategic in their use of this data, they will become an incredibly powerful, influential, and largely unaccountable and unregulated organization. Information = power, and they propose to collect a massive amount of information, at taxpayer expense. There's no compelling reason to create what could easily become a monster over time, and no way -- no way at all -- that the current management of inBloom can assure us that their successors 10 years down the road won't being doing things with a decade's worth of data about our children that we can't even imagine today, even if it is kept "secure."