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Update: Evernote doesn't want to read your notes anymore

The official privacy policy for Evernote was recently updated, stating that some of its employees have the right to access notes posted by customers.

Published onDecember 16, 2016

Update, December 16: Following the intense public outcry, Evernote is backing off the proposed changes to its Privacy Policy that would allow its employees to read users’ notes.

In the coming months we will be revising our existing Privacy Policy to address our customers’ concerns, reinforce that their data remains private by default, and confirm the trust they have placed in Evernote is well founded. In addition, we will make machine learning technologies available to our users, but no employees will be reading note content as part of this process unless users opt in.We will invite Evernote customers to help us build a better product by joining the program.

“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 Evernote CEO Chris O’Neill.

Original post, December 14: The popular online note taking service Evernote may become a lot less popular if it sticks with a recently updated Privacy Policy. The company says the changes, which go into effect on January 23, 2017, will give some Evernote employees the right to look at notes posted by anyone using the service.

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In a post that summarizes the changes, Evernote stated that it will allow some of its workers “to exercise oversight of machine learning technologies applied to account content.” It added that the number of those employees are “small” but did not offer a specific number. Customers have the option to encrypt any of their notes. It also stated:

While our computer systems do a pretty good job, sometimes a limited amount of human review is simply unavoidable in order to make sure everything is working exactly as it should.

Evernote does state that its customers can choose to opt out of this machine learning option, but that still doesn’t mean their notes can’t be read by its employees. It stated that “you cannot opt out of employees looking at your content for other reasons stated in our Privacy Policy.” Those reasons include looking into possible violations of the company’s Terms of Service, troubleshooting issues, protection against malware or other security issues and responding to “warrants, court orders or other legal process.”

Obviously, Evernote is trying to cover its bases on any potential problems it might find on its service, but if you are at all concerned that someone at the company might be looking at your notes, you might want to consider your other online note taking options.

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