A system to measure an individual's digital status has been launched in the UK, with an estimated 45 million personal online identity scores made available.
Online identity experts Garlik launched the system on Thursday. It undertook an analysis of the nation's digital profiles to create a rating system called QDOS, which measures an individual's digital status, ie the way we are perceived in the online world.
By analysing tens of millions of digital profiles, Garlink found that an individual's status in the digital world is made up of four key components: popularity, impact, activity and individuality, which when combined give an overall total score of a person's digital status.
You have a low digital status if you score up to the 500 mark. Medium status is up to 1,000, while a high status is 2,000 plus. Digital 'celebrities' occupy the dizzy heights of 5,000 plus.
But there is a serious side to this system, as Garlik is urging users to wake up to the full implications of our online behaviour. Protecting digital identities from identify fraud is just half the story the company believes, as nowadays more and more opportunities and decisions are being made based on digital status.
According to new research from Garlik, nearly 16 percent of Britons have chosen their new home based on how their prospective neighbours appear online; 12 percent have researched potential dates prior to meeting them; and one in ten parents (11 percent) have decided where to send their children to school based on the digital status of prospective teachers.
"As events of the last week have graphically demonstrated, everyone has a digital identity whether they like it or not, and these identities are valuable and worth protecting," said Garlik's CEO, Tom Ilube.
"But this is just one side of the digital coin - the other is your digital status which is a valuable and positive asset that determines how we're perceived and the opportunities available to each of us."
The findings also reveal that individuals are making employment and hiring decisions based on information sourced online. Twenty percent of Britons have researched a prospective boss before accepting a job and 32 percent have searched online to find out more about tradesmen and professionals before hiring them.
A quick check of the QDOS website makes sorry reading: the likes of Kylie Minogue (Q8379) and Paris Hilton (Q8265), comprehensively outscores Tim Berners-Lee (Q7153), Linus Torvalds (Q5621) and Bill Gates (Q6402). Meanwhile digitally savvy musician Lilly Allen (Q8850) dwarfs rock legend Mick Jagger (Q6338). And other English institutions, such as the Church of England, did not come out unscathed, with the net-savvy Dalai Lama (Q5590) comfortably ahead of the Archbishop of Canterbury (Q4618).
The author barely escaped the drop zone with a meagre Q790 rating.
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