FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions


General Questions

What service does ErnieApp bring to me?

ErnieApp is a Privacy Knowledge Manager “PKM”.

With ErnieApp PKM you can manage your privacy choices on popular internet services in a snap, without other parties acting as intermediaries and claiming that they can do for you what you can actually do by yourself much better than anyone else.

The principle is simple. Your consent matters to businesses. It’s not just compliance (GDPR). It’s about profitability. Consented data by users trigger a higher value in the internet market place. Basically, this means that companies need your consent to maintain their profitability. All companies. No matter which is the business they are in.

So, you should grant your consent only for good reasons like enjoying a service you which like and from a company which you trust. The better you manage your consent “by yourself“, the better for you. Since consent links directly with data permissions purpose for the party which collects and process your data, we truly think that no one else better than you can take the right decision in a responsible way on to whom you give the consent, when and for how long. Or when and why you may withdraw it.

How do I benefit from ErnieApp?

ErnieApp combines two distinct services in a unified experience: a functional “privacy manager” and an “educational” game which helps you understanding the mystery of how internet companies use your data and what type of consent level is critical to their profitability and business model (e.g. WhatsApp needs to access your Contacts list while Google Maps needs to track you wherever you go).

We called our service a Privacy Knowledge Manager because we love thinking that technology innovation (eg the consent automation tool) should walk hand-in-hand with human knowledge elevation and skills development so that humans decisions prevail over machine automation.

How do I benefit from the Privacy Knowledge Manager?

The Privacy Knowledge Manager is designed to make it easy for you to manage, across your digital accounts, the privacy settings of 3rd party applications, through a single dashboard (Home), in real time. By “manage” we mean enabling a change in the state of your 3rd party privacy settings (open/close/delete), including when we don’t have a partnership with that given 3rd party.

Usually these services have functions to enable changes to the privacy settings but in most cases the pages where these actions can be performed are hidden. In other application settings are not even available. While GDPR says they should.

At ErnieApp we want to make easy for people to change their consent and permissions level on 3rd parties. So we designed an app which allows to do it with a click and allows also to compare between the internet services that are more user friendly than others.

At the moment, the services we support are Google (e.g. Search, Maps), You Tube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. More services and more settings are on the pipeline and we will add them progressively giving to consumers further ways to exercise their rights.

What is the Right to Monetize? Why should I be interested?

The Right to Monetize (RTM) is a new public policy notion which we conceptualised and which we propose to become an integral part of consumer digital rights.

Under RTM we seek to change the paradigm that governs users and companies’ relationship on the internet whereby companies never pay users for the data they generate and in exchange they enjoy free services.

With RTM we want to introduce a general fairness principle under which users who contribute with data to companies’ profitability should be receiving a fair, non-discriminatory, proportionate gain as key “partners” and/or “suppliers” in the rich ecosystem of the digital economy.

The compensation is conceived to reward the persistent willingness of the user to continue share data which are used by the internet company to make a profitable business and when this company wants to use/share the data with other 3rd parties (pass through the user consent).

In practice RTM would make very transparent and accountable for companies to use people’s data. The system would reward those companies that commit to be privacy transparent and accountable toward end-users.

The scheme would apply to all users generated data, including those data that get anonymized by companies for further usage.

Are you interested in knowing more? Find our Right to Monetize Manifesto here.

Why should I buy-in RTM notion? Will Internet Companies ever agree to pay me?

You may appreciate knowing that recently some interesting announcements made by influential politicians suggest that we are not isolated in advocating the introduction of a fair compensation scheme for users who contribute with their data to the stellar success of companies like Google and Facebook.

You may want to read here what has been said by President of the European Parliament A. Tajani recently “Our data is the real value on which the fortune of large digital platforms is based… . Systems should be put in place in the EU to allow Internet users to monetize their consent to the use of their data.. Read the full report here.

Or what has been said by the newly elected Governor of California Gavin Newsom “California’s consumers should also be able to share in the wealth that is created from their data“. Newsom is seeking a proposal on creating a “data dividend” for Californians which is inspired from the scheme applying in Alaska where citizens receive a compensation as result of oil extraction. Read the full report here.

What other benefits I get from the Privacy Knowledge Manager?

We provide you with personalized metrics. The first released is called “Your Openness Index” and appears in Home.

This metric is designed to simplify your understanding on why your consent matters and to help you make an informed decision around privacy permission on your most used accounts (e.g. being more open or less open, with whom, when, for how long or when you prefer deleting the data you generated on the 3rd party service).

The beauty is that you don’t need to send an email or mail “requests” to the 3rd party for deleting your data. You can just decide when and what to delete and do it, right away from the app. Deletion will occur immediately after you click on the delete button.

You may also change your consent from “on” to “off” and the reverse and you do it by simply clicking on the switch button. The service (eg. Google Maps) will continue to function but the internet company, if you have chosen to click on the “red” switch, is not authorized anymore to use your personal data for marketing profiling purpose (or the purpose for which it has requested your consent).


Metrics and Tokens

Your Openness Index

What is it and how do we calculate the Openness Index for you?

The Openness Index it’s a personalized metric calculated for you.

It’s computed from the analysis of your privacy settings state (open, close) on the 3rd party accounts you have linked to ErnieApp account and your performed actions (changes and wipes) on these settings. It’s a direct function of how many accounts you link and how many setting these accounts have and what you perform on these settings.


ErnieApp Tokens

What are the ErnieApp Tokens and how do I accrue them?

The ErnieApp Tokens (expressed in units) are points that ErnieApp rewards you with for performing specific actions (e.g. making a referral, filling a survey; refreshing settings, adding accounts, playing the game and going up levels etc).

Sometimes you need to perform the actions based on specific time intervals (e.g. repeat an action for a certain number of consecutive days).

How can I redeem the ErnieApp Tokens?

Tokens can be redeemed in-app against tickets to participate in a Prize Draw. The Prize Draw occurs every month. Prizes can change every month.

Do my ErnieApp Tokens Expire?

No, they do not expire.

But you lose them if you delete the app as we need to delete all your personal data when you uninstall the app.


Internet Accounts & Privacy Settings

Which are the 3rd party services that ErnieApp Supports?

Currently we support the privacy settings management and optimization on some popular global internet services (Google Search, Google Maps, You Tube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter). The services list will grow overtime. We plan adding also popular local services.

Why some services cannot be linked to ErnieApp account (e.g. WhatsApp / Snapchat)?

ErnieApp uses 3rd party interfaces to operate the service also absent an agreement with the 3rd party in question.

We make clear to our users’ which internet services do not provide any interface which enable privacy settings management and optimization. These are for example WhatsApp and Snapchat as well as other services. We intend to work with these companies to ensure that our users will also be able to manage settings on these great applications. However, it’s a pity that these services are not GDPR privacy friendly to their user base by default.

Which Privacy Settings can I change?

By configuring your Google, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts in ErnieApp dashboard you will be able to change those settings which apply to these accounts (e.g. your Gmail account will serve to manage settings on Search, Maps and You Tube while your Facebook account will serve to manage settings on Facebook only).

Which and how many settings you can change depends on the 3rd party privacy setting design configuration.

We predict that new settings will be made available over time by these and other 3rd party and in such case we will strive to make them always accessible to you in ErnieApp.

Some companies have privacy settings designed and implemented but keep them “obfuscated” to the user. We are sorry that in such case we will not be able to serve you until we have a partnership with such services.

Can I configure more than one internet service account?

Yes, you can do it (e.g. If you have 2 accounts or more of a same service e.g. Google or Facebook, you can add all of them).

ErnieApp will allow you to manage as many 3rd party accounts you wish (eg 2 or more Gmail accounts; 1 or more Facebook accounts). Each account will be listed separately so that you can change the privacy setting in a different way for each account. Your Openness Index will factor in all your accounts.

You will be able to monitor all your permission as they apply to all your internet services accounts thank to ErnieApp.

If I install on my smartphone ErnieApp and use it, does my usage of the 3rd party app gets affected?

No, we implemented ErnieApp technology in such way that your user experience doesn’t get affected.


Game

ErnieApp is also a game: how does it work?

We provide you with a tutorial game, in the form of quizzes. The game is like a journey. It’s made of 5 playgrounds, each with 8 levels. It mimics the real world and how internet connects with your real life and how companies grab your data to build profitable businesses (Playgrounds represent your home, your office or a shopping mall).

By answering the quizzes you will grow your knowledge on how the digital economy works, which type of digital companies needs which data from you and why or for what purpose; what you can expect from these companies if they don’t get any more personal data from you; what are the biggest trends in technology innovation that you should be aware of if you intend to plan to exercise your Right to Monetize option.

Through the game you will also learn that companies compete with each other, at all levels. Including in how they collect data from you. Hence, because these companies all need your consent to use your personal data and in most cases they all strive to collect the same type of data from you and from all your devices, the more you know the easier for you to claim your fair part compensation if you wish to exercise your Right to Monetize option.

Consumer’s data quest is what motivates all these internet companies. They deeply depend on your personal data and of those of your friends to build their analytics. They deeply depend on the usage you make of their application and the time you spend on their services to build profiles that they can be targeted by advertisers.

Since GDPR entry into force, personal data, especially for marketing profiling purpose, must have been consented by the user. So, become smart: apply wisely your consent policy.


ErnieApp Launch & App Availability

Why is ErnieApp being launched now?

We at ErnieApp think that the times when users feel intimidated by the internet ecosystem complexity and companies feed that intimidation at their advantage should end.

We think the time has come to make people comfortable and relaxed about digital technology, why users’ data is so critically important to businesses but also that businesses need to respect people and accept that sometimes if the trust is not validated, people will withdraw their consent and even delete their personal data as retaliation measure.

In which countries is ErnieApp Available?

The service is now available in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela.

In which language is Ernieapp supported?

ErnieApp has been released in English. We are working with partners to make the app available in several language.


App Support

Does your app work on both Android an iOS?

Yes.

Why Ernieapp is categorized under App Store 17+?

The age of consent, i.e when a child is required or able to give their consent for the processing of their own personal data under GDPR, Article 8, is 16 years of age, although member states are allowed to allocate their own age of consent, provided that this does not fall below the age of 13.

Apple developer guidelines requires at an app which uses Prize Draw as reward mechanism is classified under Gambling and Contest which in turn carried a 17+ age requirement.

Does your app work on desktop browsers?

Currently we support the mobile only version.

Can I use ErnieApp on more than one device?

Yes, you can use ErnieApp across all your devices and manage the settings from ErnieApp dashboard.

When you change the privacy settings per account basis, these will apply across devices, seamlessly.

What if I want to delete the app? Where does my data go?

If you want to delete your personal data on ErnieApp you can do so from the app itself. Go to your user profile and click on the “Delete Account” button.

If you want to unlink a 3rd party account from ErnieApp account you can do from the app itself. Open the account itself and click on the “Unlink account” button.

If you want to delete ErnieApp from your smartphone you can un-install the app and your personal data will be deleted according to our Privacy Policy