Evernote Will Not Implement Controversial New Privacy Policy

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evernoteEvernote tonight announced that it no longer plans to implement a controversial new privacy policy that caused some Evernote users to threaten to stop using the service. The policy was scheduled to go into effect on January 23, 2017 and allowed Evernote employees to read users' notes.

After receiving a lot of customer feedback expressing concerns about our upcoming Privacy Policy changes over the past few days, Evernote is reaffirming its commitment to keep privacy at the center of what we do. As a result, we will not implement the previously announced Privacy Policy changes that were scheduled to go into effect January 23, 2017.

Evernote explained that the new privacy policy was intended to let employees read notes to make sure machine learning algorithms were working as intended. The privacy policy itself only states that employees could look at notes "for troubleshooting purposes or to maintain and improve the Service," wording that was criticized as too vague.

The company attempted to clarify its statements earlier today with a note from CEO Chris O'Neill, promising that the company is still committed to user privacy and the "Three Laws of Data Protection."

Instead of instituting the new policy, Evernote says it will revise its existing privacy policy to address concerns and "reinforce that [users'] data remains private by default." In regards to its machine learning algorithms, Evernote says employees will not read notes unless users opt-in to help the company "build a better product."

Evernote CEO Chris O'Neill also issued a statement, saying the company must ask for permission from its users rather than assume it already has it.

“We announced a change to our privacy policy that made it seem like we didn’t care about the privacy of our customers or their notes. This was not our intent, and our customers let us know that we messed up, in no uncertain terms. We heard them, and we’re taking immediate action to fix it,” said O’Neill. “We are excited about what we can offer Evernote customers thanks to the use of machine learning, but we must ask for permission, not assume we have it. We’re sorry we disappointed our customers, and we are reviewing our entire privacy policy because of this.”

The full statement can be read at Evernote's website.

Top Rated Comments

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50 months ago
There is an inherent flaw in how we as end-users are able to protect our data.
Truth is: We've lost total control. We usually have no control over where our data is stored and all those EULAs and privacy policies are changed arbitrarily.

So you decide to use a service one day, you've read their privacy policy and the next day it reads a completely different thing. Sure, you've been notified, but you're already locked into that solution and invested a lot of money to use it. So you all of a sudden have to agree to some weird passage that allows them to do whatever with your data/information, pass it on to sub-contractors and third parties, etc.

That includes Apple with their almost monthly new TOS. How am I supposed to read that 100 page stuff and ask someone with legal expertise what this actually means for me. It seems they almost expect you to have a lawyer at your disposal! Maybe I should employ one full time? Oh... Wait... No... I don't earn enough by faaaaaar to be able to do that.

There should be a worldwide law that demands privacy by design and default and allows the customer to keep his service without agreeing to new policies (albite with less features since certain functions might not be covered).

I'm sick and tired of trying to run around to protect my bits and piece.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
50 months ago
Sorry everlost....I got another app.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
50 months ago
I don't post here that often now but this boiled my piss enough for me to come out of retirement... The fact that they even thought about reading people's notes, should be more than enough to set those alarm bells ringing. I hope all those customers move elsewhere anyway. I wouldn't stick around if I were a customer, which I wasn't. I never liked their terms from the get go
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
50 months ago
Opt ins have been around for decades, for good reason. How is it that they've only just now figured that out? Shows a lack of maturity and experience from the leadership team to my mind.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
50 months ago
Too late, I bailed when they doubled down that they *would* implement this policy. **** Evernote. The software's been a steaming pile of ******* for years now, the syncing is stuck in the Bronze Age, and it's littered with upsell nags even when you're already on a paid plan.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
50 months ago
As end users we must do whatever we ourselves can do to ensure the privacy of our own information. We cannot rely on any company no matter what they claim, to be truly altruistic with our data. Which is why I don't care, I shall continue to use Evernote but I'm writing everything in morse code, backwards and bottom to top. That should slow them down at the very least.


Damnit, now the secrets out, I'll have to re-write everything again, me and my big mouth :D

Joking aside it's why the only one I use is iCloud Drive, its supposedly amongst the least invasive, certainly from what I've read in their privacy policies (if you can believe those.) But even then nothing that needs to be kept client confidential goes on any cloud services at all.

I've personally nothing that would matter if anyone else were to see it, my life is pretty much an open book, but that's not the point. The point is I should be the only one to decide what and with whom my information is shared with. Even if I were writing a message to my granny the only people I expect to see it are me and her. Not some gormless oik sitting in a dark room somewhere sweating over any and every bit of personal information they can get on a person.

A healthy distrust of the vast majority of the human race has served me well so far in life, I see no reason to ever change that. Not when it's proven to be the sensible option time and time again. Trust is something that's earned not given by default. Which is probably why I know so may of other people's deep dark secrets, they trust me, though sometimes I think I'd prefer not to have known some of them :D


Ahhhh, first rant of the day, always nice to get one over and done with with early on :p
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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