PrivacyGrader is a free tool to help companies get smarter about data and disclosures

As businesses face a complex and evolving privacy landscape, a new tool called PrivacyGrader can help them make sure they’re doing the right things.

The tool was created by Tom Chavez and Vivek Vaidya, as part of their new data compliance and security startup Ketch. (Chavez and Vaidya also founded the super{set} startup studio; Ketch is part of the super{set} portfolio.)

“The truth of the matter is that we’ve cared a lot about these issues for a long time,” Chavez said. “What’s different today, in 2020, versus say a decade ago … is that it’s become an existential imperative for businesses.”

In order to use PrivacyGrader, you need to have an authenticated email address tied to the website that you want analyzed — so you shouldn’t be able to see your competitors’ grades.

Once your request and email address are validated, Vaidya said you should get an analysis back in less than 24 hours, which will score your site across more than 50 different factors, including trackers, storage of personal data and overall compliance with GDPR, CCPA and other regulations.

For example, Chavez and Vaidya provided me with an analysis of TechCrunch, where we scored 56% overall (Chavez assured me that this “absolutely on par with what we’re seeing out there”). The report outlined the privacy experience for users in different countries and pointed to areas where we can do better.

Chavez emphasized that this isn’t meant to be the end of a company’s privacy discussion, but rather a high-level view that helps the product and legal teams know where to focus their attention.

“Think of the scores … as an X-ray, not an MRI,” he said. “They’re indicative, not conclusive, but they shed light across the key dimensions.”

Presumably, Chavez and Vaidya are hoping companies that use PrivacyGrader will turn to Ketch’s paid products for help, but Vaidya said they’ll continue improving the free service and treat it as a “first-class citizen product.”

Companies that have already used PrivacyGrader include Patreon, The Home Depot and Chubbies. For example, Patreon’s deputy legal counsel Priya Sanger said that the service “helped us identify improved data governance in order to effectively execute our marketing and sales strategy.”