Introducing: The Rita Score

How much do companies know about me? How safe is my data? How can I improve my online privacy?

By interacting online, a lot of data of your data is being collected by companies. But every internet user has different online behavior and uses varying websites. This means that people have left a very different trail of data across the web. We often hear statistics like, how much data is being collected or the total amount of data generated a minute. But we felt that people are missing a contextual and personalized understanding of their online situation.

That’s why we’ve created the Rita Score, a score that gives you an understanding of where you’re at and how you can improve your digital presence. Creating a unified score was challenging, as there are so many aspects at play. Our most important considerations when defining the Rita Score were: Understanbility, Transparency, and Scope. We wanted to make sure that it’s accessible, clear, and encompassing all concepts around personal data.

Together with researchers, policymakers, and our community we came to the following three parameters. Data Ownership, Data Privacy, and Profile Safety. Following we’ll describe the commonly used definitions and our interpretation of these parameters. Additionally, we’ll expand upon how we measure them and how you can improve your Rita Score.

  1. Data Ownership: (Use and distribution)
  • Definition:

Ownership is the state or fact of exclusive rights and control over property, which may be an asset, including an object, land or real estate, intellectual property.

Data ownership is the act of having legal rights and complete control over a single piece or set of data elements. It defines and provides information about the rightful owner of data assets and the acquisition, use, and distribution policy implemented by the data owner.

  • Our interpretation:

Exclusivity and legal rights are our key takeaways here. The GDPR and other data protection regulations give users such rights, like the right to access and the right to be forgotten. This allows users to get exclusivity by requesting companies to delete their data. We believe users are the rightful owners of the data they generate and Rita gives users the freedom to exercise those rights. The distribution of data should be defined by the data owner.

  • How to improve:

Restricting companies that don’t rightfully have your data to increase exclusivity. We allow our users to get access to their data and manage the distribution. By using our “Restrict companies” feature, users can request companies to delete all the data they have collected. You might have used a service some months or years ago that you’ve forgotten about. Rita will show you who has access to it and enables you to delete it.

2. Data Privacy: (Choice)

  • Definition:

Data privacy generally means the ability of a person to determine for themselves when, how, and to what extent personal information about them is shared with or communicated to others.

  • Our interpretation:

At Rita, we believe privacy is a state of mind, the feeling of being in control of one’s information flows. Having the ability to choose who can and can’t have access to your data is central to that feeling of control. That is why Rita enables and guides users to choose who can have access to their data and which data is accessible to companies.

  • How to improve:

As we stand for choice our app is full of choices. Rita users can choose to restrict access through the “restrict companies” feature. Also, users can choose which emails they would like to unsubscribe from through the “Unsubscribe“ feature. Finally, you can choose how you’re targeted by deleting ads and ad categories, no removing the interests that don’t match you. Rita’s “Ads management” gives you transparency and choice of how Google and Facebook profile and you and influence the ads you see.

3. Profile safety (Unwanted Accessibility)

  • Definition:

Data safety concerns protecting data against loss by ensuring safe storage and making regular backups of your data.

  • Our interpretation:

We view safety and security as the level of difficulty required to get to your data. An open Facebook profile allows anyone to access your name, DOB, picture, and previous posts. Additionally, if a company with a very insecure database stores your data, it is possible they might be breached and your data accessed. (e.g. that shady e-commerce website you used to get that cool gadget could be breached by hackers. Hackers then access your identity, address, and payment information.)

  • How to improve:

First of all, people can improve their Rita Score by making less information publicly available on Facebook and Google. Even if your information is closed, know that each post, like, or comment you make can be retrieved by someone with your email address (Google) or someone who’s accessed the account of someone in your “friends” list (Facebook).

Secondly, by making sure your data is not accessible on breachable databases. The Rita App presents users with a list of all the companies that have user data, by deleting companies from this list you’ll see your score improve. We’ll be adding a company safety score soon, so users can understand which companies to trust.

The third element of this parameter is accepting fewer cookies. Some cookies can get in-depth personal information like your home address or your device type. Accessibility to this information could be a pathway to being breached yourself.

We will continue writing about what you can do to keep your data safe and optimize your digital experience. Currently, Rita supports you in ownership, choice, and safety. In the next article, we’ll explore complementary tools you can use to manage and control your data.

The transformation to a data economy is becoming ever more apparent. We’re here to make the data economy user-centric by putting users in control. There’s a long road ahead. But with people’s willpower, regulatory enforcement, and Rita’s technology, we will get there!