FAQ

General questions
What is the Privacy Knowledge Manager (PKM)?

The Privacy Knowledge Manager is a mobile app that combines two main functions: (i) aggregating the privacy permission settings of multiple internet services chosen by the user from the list provided in the app into a single access point (PKM Dashboard) and (ii) managing them with ease.

Why use the PKM?

The PKM is a mobile app that falls under the 'utility' category. It helps you to easily exercise your privacy rights. It is important that you know that when you visit a website or use a mobile app, the consent you provide for using your personal data for marketing and profiling, targeting or other purposes is of vital importance for companies. It's not just GDPR compliance. It's all about profitability. Your personal data, when qualified by your 'express consent', has a higher value for companies. All companies. Regardless of their industry. The GDPR specifies that you can change the status of your consent at any time. That is, you can confirm or deny it. But it's down to you to be aware of it. And it's down to the companies to make it possible for you. We make it easier to manage consent and permissions by aggregating your web-app privacy permissions into a single place for viewing and control.

Can I use the PKM if I don't have an active broadband or Wi-Fi connection?

No. The app requires an active broadband or Wi-Fi connection.

What internet services are supported by the PKM?

Now the following services are supported: Google (Web-App Activities); Google Maps; YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Spotify, LinkedIn and Netflix. Other services are in the pipeline and will be added gradually.

What types of accounts can I link to the PKM?

You can link all your accounts with services supported by the PKM that you are registered with and that you access using a username and password.

Can I link a Google Business account?

Yes, the PKM also supports Google Business accounts.

Does the PKM work in real time?

Yes. The status of your consents and permissions, as well as any changes to them, are read in real time when you open the app.

Can I use the app on multiple devices?

Yes, you can download and use ErnieApp on all your devices even with different operating systems if you have registered an ErnieApp account. Managing the service privacy permissions (reading and modifying the status) is synchronized. When you change the privacy settings on an account, the change will be reflected across all the devices where you are logged in with that account.

Can I link multiple accounts of the same internet service to the PKM?

Yes, you can. For example, if you have 2 or more Gmail and Facebook accounts, you can add them all, as long as you have registered an ErnieApp account. Each account will be listed and shown separately from the others; you can change the privacy consent and permissions independently on each account.

What services does the app offer besides the PKM?

As well as managing the privacy permissions of your favorite web apps, you can (i) delete your personal data on third party internet services, if you deem it appropriate; (ii) measure your level of privacy using the Openness Index across as many services that you wish; and (iii) enjoy a game that lets you discover how companies profile you and collect data and information about you in order to monetize it. By playing, you also win prizes.

Why is the app rated 17+ in the App Store?

The age of consent, i.e. when a minor is able or required to give their consent for the processing of their personal data according to the GDPR, Article 8, is set at 16 years, even if Member States can set a different age of consent, provided that this is not less than 13 years of age. Apple's developer guidelines require an app with a prize draw to be classified as gambling, which requires a user to be at least 17 years old.

In which languages is the app available?

ErnieApp has been released in English and Italian. We are working on making the app available in other languages.

Why the app is free?

Our mission is to make users aware of their rights and provide them with the tools to exercise them. ErnieApp is free for consumers because the right to privacy is universal; it is a fundamental right. The 'enterprise' version of the app is supplied by subscription.

In which countries is ErnieApp available?

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

Who is behind ErnieApp?

It is a 'high tech' Irish company, founded in 2017, based in Dublin, Ireland (www.ernieapp.com). The founder, Isabella de Michelis, is a privacy and digital expert, who has worked for years for large American and European tech companies. She decided to create ErnieApp after realizing that privacy has a value, both for people and for companies, but the relationship between the two counterparts needed an innovative strategy, which is made possible today thanks to the PKM. https://twitter.com/Ernieapp2 and https://www.linkedin.com/in/isabella-de-michelis-3192bb/

Are the ErnieApp name and logos registered and protected?

Yes, the app logos and the Ernie name are registered trademarks in Ireland and other countries. For more information you can consult our website https://ernieapp.com/trademarks/

Is ErnieApp GDPR-compliant?

ErnieApp is a digital service that is also offered to users located in the European Union. The company is therefore required to comply with the GDPR. When a user registers an account on ErnieApp to enable the PKM service, they provide their email address and create a password: these data are personal information and are collected and processed according to the provisions of the GDPR. The ErnieApp Privacy Policy is always available in the app, on the "More" page and on the app store pages https://api.ernieapp.com/privacy_conditions/

How is my personal data used by ErnieApp?

Use is strictly limited to the management of the PKM service both for users who have an account and for those who don't. For a detailed description of which data is used, and how it is used in each of the above cases, please see the ErnieApp EULA and Privacy Policy which are always available in the app on the page "More" and on the app store pages https://api.ernieapp.com/privacy_conditions/ ErnieApp is 'privacy certified' on the Apple store.

FAQ
Does the PKM work on both Android and iOS?

Yes. The PKM is multi-platform. The app has been published on the Apple store, Google Play store and Huawei App Gallery.

Does the PKM work on desktop browsers?

We currently only support the PKM mobile version.

Why am I asked to register an 'account' on ErnieApp?

We designed the PKM according to the principle of 'data minimization'. We ask you to provide us an email and to create a password (which you can change later; you can also change your email later). These two pieces of information are used to create your 'PKM profile' in the system and enable the services you want to use as you go. To offer you a quality PKM service (to sync your settings if you use the PKM on multiple devices) and to provide you with technical assistance, we need to identify you. Furthermore, the Openness Index is a custom metric, and its calculation requires historical data, linked to your profile.

Why am I asked to validate the email address I used to register the ErnieApp account?

Email validation is required to confirm the sign-up process. After you have entered an email address and created a password, we send you an email. Only by opening that email and accepting it do you allow us to create an ErnieApp profile, which you can then link to the PKM service. Absent that confirmation your profile is not created and none of your personal data is stored in our system.

Why am I asked by ErnieApp to accept push notifications?

Accepting push notifications is the only way to receive communications about supported services (some services may undergo periodic maintenance); about the timing of the introduction of new services or new privacy permissions for services already supported; or to inform you of the release of a new version of the app and of new game levels.

Can I sign-up using social media login?

No, ErnieApp invites you to create a native account (email, password).

Can I use the PKM without registering an account on ErnieApp?

Yes, but the privacy settings functionalities will be limited. For example: users without accounts can only link one account of one internet service at a time, and since we cannot identify them, we cannot guarantee unregistered users continuous access to the privacy settings of the account they have decided to test. Furthermore, users without an account cannot access the 'game' or accumulate tokens or redeem 'prizes', actions that require acceptance of the terms and conditions of the Prize Draw.

Why am I asked to authenticate my internet services account/s in ErnieApp?

Only the accounts that you have authenticated can be managed through the PKM. You decide which and how many accounts, when, and for how long you want to connect and view them in the ErnieApp Dashboard. On our side, we need to make sure of two things (i) that you choose which accounts to set up in the PKM Dashboard and (ii) that you actually have control over those accounts you have chosen to link.

When I authenticate my accounts and enter the account’s password, is it a safe process?

Yes, your passwords are always safe because they remain in the domain of your service provider. We do not acquire them or know them. In fact, you will discover that if you change the password of the account of a service that you have linked to the PKM, ErnieApp will ask you to re-authenticate that account, otherwise you would no longer be able to manage its privacy permissions.

Can I authenticate my accounts on the PKM via social media login?

Yes. The PKM supports several services with social media log-in authentication, and we will continue to extend this feature.

What happens if I change the status of my consent on the internet services? Will this impair my user experience?

No, your experience remains the same. The service (for example Google Maps) will continue to work but, if you have denied your consent to tracking for marketing purposes (for example), Google will not be able to monetize your personal data for that specific purpose. If they want to do so, they will have to incentivize and convince you to update your consent status for profiling based on your opt-in history. Any company that does not respect the 'status' of your consent risks very high fines, but ultimately it cannot profitably exploit the data and information it has collected about you, neither for internal use nor with partners, as the partners themselves will ask for evidence of your consent.

How can I delete my personal data on social media and others app using the PKM?

It's very simple, but you need to have an ErnieApp account. Open the app, and from the Home page tap on the icon of a service (e.g. Google) among those in the Dashboard (with no red shading around it) and open the Privacy Settings page. You will see a button . Simply tap on it. The deletion button is only visible on the screen for services that support the deletion of personal data. Remember that you do not need intermediaries to exercise your GDPR ‘deletion’ rights. With just one tap you can delete the data yourself. The deletion of personal data will take place immediately, straight after you have tapped on the deletion button and confirmed your decision.

I have configured multiple internet services in the Dashboard, but I cannot see them all. Why?

The linked internet services will appear horizontally in chronological order, on the Dashboard. When there are more than 4-5 services (depending on your phone model), you may have to scroll left or right to see them. If you "drag" (i.e. slide your finger) to the left of the horizontal line of the service icons in the Dashboard, you will be able to see the other services too.

What does a red shading around the internet service icon in the Dashboard mean?

This is a warning. It warns you that the third-party service (e.g. Google) needs to be re-authenticated. You can tap the icon and follow the instructions. As soon as you have re-authenticated your account, the red shading will disappear.

What does the button in the Dashboard mean?

It is a functional command to guarantee the continuous supply of the PKM service. Tapping it will refresh the accounts linked to the PKM. Carrying out this command may take a few seconds, depending on the number of accounts you have configured. Avoid closing the app if you have launched Global Refresh, otherwise the operation may fail.

If I have chosen the 'user without account' option, can I use the PKM on any of the services listed?

Yes, of course. You can link any account you have on any service in the 'Internet Services' list (excluding services under maintenance), but only one at a time.

If I have chosen the 'user without account' option, can I have continuous access to the privacy permissions of the account I have authenticated in the PKM?

No. When you use the PKM without an account, we do not keep any identifiers relating to you or your accounts; each time you exit the app you will be asked to repeat the configuration process. For continuous access to the privacy settings of the service you have linked in the PKM, you need to register an account on ErnieApp.

If I have chosen the 'user without account' option, can I use the ‘delete’ function on the internet services that offer the delete option?

No, this is not possible. You need to register an ErnieApp account to use the deletion command.

If I have chosen the 'user without account' option, can I sign-up while I am using the PKM?

Yes, you can sign-up from the Privacy Settings screen of the service you have configured in the PKM (red button with SIGN UP), and also by tapping on the ‘delete’ button on the same screen as it will offer a SIGN-UP option (at the bottom of the page).

If I started using the PKM as a 'user without account', then registered an account on ErnieApp, will I see that initial digital account I authenticated in the PKM Dashboard after signing-up?

No, we do not keep any identifiers when you use the PKM as a 'user without account'. So even if you register an account on ErnieApp while using the PKM without a user account, you will need to re-authenticate the third party's service account (e.g. Google) on the PKM. We are sorry that this may involve extra effort, but it is to respect your privacy and ensure security.

I no longer want to easily manage privacy setting on an account I have linked to the PKM. How do I unlink it?

It's easy - you can do it yourself right from the app. Open the app, go to Home, tap on the icon of the internet service whose account you want to unlink (with or without red shading); open the privacy settings page and scroll down the page; you will find a button that says, "Unlink account". Tap the button. The system will automatically unlink the account. You can always re-link it but you will have to re-authenticate on the service.

I am no longer interested in the PKM service. How do I delete my account on ErnieApp?

It's simple and you can do it anytime, straight from the app. Open the app, tap More in the Menu, then tap Profile and scroll down the page. When you find the "Delete Account" button, tap it. You will be prompted to confirm your intention a second time. If you confirm, the system will carry out your request in real time and will automatically delete your ErnieApp account and any personal data associated with it. If you change your mind and want to recover your account after you have deleted it, it will not be possible. You will have to register a new account. We do not keep any personal data linked to your profile after deletion.

I have decided to uninstall ErnieApp. Where does my personal data go?

If you want to delete ErnieApp from your phone you can uninstall the app but your ErnieApp account, if you had one, for technical reasons, will not be automatically deleted. To delete your ErnieApp account, you need to initiate this before uninstalling the app. For more information you can read our Privacy Policy https://api.ernieapp.com/privacy_conditions/

Why does the PKM not support the privacy permissions on WhatsApp, Snapchat, TikTok and Zoom even though they appear in the list of services?

These services (despite having more than 100 million monthly active users worldwide), like many others, do not display technical interfaces compatible with the PKM design. We want to be transparent to our users. We are working hard to support these popular services as well. We are also committed to promoting common technical interfaces standards with privacy regulators and authorities.

Why am I asked to vote on WhatsApp, TikTok, Zoom and Snapchat?

We have introduced an evaluation system into the app. When a user taps on a service in the list that cannot yet be connected to the PKM, we offer the user the option to vote. More than once, in fact. The rating reflects your level of expectation of gaining access to privacy permissions for those services. The more votes, the stronger the pressure on these companies to open permission interfaces which are compatible with the PKM.

Metrics, Tokens and Game
What is the Openness Index?

The Openness Index is a custom indicator. It calculates your privacy and represents it according to three levels (Low, Medium, High). The lower the value, the greater your privacy. The higher the value, the less your privacy.

How is the Openness Index calculated?

The Openness Index is personalized to you and is calculated instantly every time you open the app. It is based on the status of the privacy permissions on the accounts you have linked in ErnieApp and on the actions you perform on the settings over time.

What are ErnieApp Tokens and how do I accumulate them?

ErnieApp Tokens (expressed in units) are points that ErnieApp rewards you with for certain actions (for example recommending the app to a friend by making a referral, answering questions, updating settings, adding accounts, progressing in the game and so on). Sometimes you will have to perform these actions at specific time intervals (for example repeating an action for a number of consecutive days or taking the quiz before the timer times out).

How can I redeem ErnieApp Tokens?

Tokens can be redeemed within the app as a ticket to participate in a prize draw, which is held at the end of each month. Rewards can change from month to month. You can find the Prize Draw terms and Conditions in app and here

Do ErnieApp Tokens expire?

No, they do not expire. But they will be lost if you delete your ErnieApp account, as we delete all your personal data.

Why there is a game in ErnieApp?

We have released a quiz game for you. It's a journey of learning about ‘digital’. It is organised in a sequence of environments, each with progressive levels of difficulty. It's inspired by the real world and how the digital life connects to your real life, as well as how companies use your data to build profitable businesses.

By answering the quizzes, you can expand your knowledge on how the digital economy works, what kind of data digital companies need from you, and why or for what purpose; what you can expect from these companies if they no longer receive personal data from you; the key tech trends you should be aware of if you want to exercise your Right to Monetize.

Through the game you will also discover which companies are competing, at all levels, and how these companies’ collect data and information about you. Remember that these companies need your 'express' consent to use your personal data, and in most cases they would all like to access the same type of data from you and your devices. The more informed you are about their data collection and use practices, the easier it will be for you to claim your just reward if you want to exercise the Right to Monetize.

Accessing consumer data is what motivates most digital businesses. Essentially, they rely on your personal data and those of your friends to build their algorithms and statistical analyses. They rely on how you use their apps and the time you spend on their services to build profiles to which advertisers can send personalized advertising. Since GDPR came into force, personal data must be collected with the user's express consent, especially for profiling and marketing purposes. So, get smart: choose carefully who to give your consent to, for what purpose and for how long. Check your Openness Index often, use the PKM and be on the alert!

Questions about the Right to Monetize
What is the Right to Monetize? Why should I care?

The Right to Monetize (RTM) is a new concept that we have created and which we propose should become an integral part of consumers' digital rights. We would like to change the paradigm that governs the relationships between companies and users, according to which companies never compensate users for the data they generate, and in return users benefit from free services. With RTM, we want to introduce a new principle of proportional fairness, by which users who contribute their "permission-qualified" data to boost companies' profits should receive a fair, equitable, non-discriminatory, proportionate compensation. The scheme would apply to all user-generated data, both personal and non-personal. Want to know more? Read our Right to Monetize Manifesto.

Why should I believe in RTM?

Will Internet companies ever recognize me a value for helping them in their business? This topic is increasingly relevant, and is more than just an academic discourse. It is being considered as a way of reforming the policies and economics of the digital economy. You can play your part. We believe that by giving users more power and making them autonomous in managing their privacy consent and permissions, we are on the right track. Since companies really need users' consent and data, users need to gain awareness and take advantage of this, in order strengthen their negotiation lever towards the corporate world.