Evernote's new not-so-privacy policy will let employees read your notes

The note-taking app will let humans (and not just machines) sift through your private data.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

(Image: CNET/CBS Interactive)

Evernote's new privacy policy is turning heads -- and users away.

The note-taking app quietly announced earlier this week its intention to update its privacy policy, which will let some of its employees access and read user content, as part of the company's effort to improve the service.

The company said in its proposed privacy policy, which determines what it does with its users data including their notes, that the changes are "primarily to make sure that our machine learning technologies are working correctly."

Evernote's machine-learning technologies are thought to include artificial intelligence hooks, such as searching with natural language queries.

The policy added that the few employees who will have access to user data will be "subject to background checks and receive specific security and privacy training at least annually."

Users can opt-out of the changes, but that won't stop Evernote employees from being able to access your data under other conditions, like with resellers, for sales and delivery requests, and law enforcement.

That means Evernote users are faced with the prospect of accepting the policy -- set to go into effect on Jan. 23 -- or exporting their data and quitting the service altogether.

Unsurprisingly, that hasn't gone down so well with the community.

Journalist and author Fabio Chiusi criticized the new terms of service in a tweet, arguing that users can choose between opting-out for privacy, but with a worse service, or accepting the terms and allowing employees to read their notes.

Forbes went as far to say this may be the "worst privacy policy," but noted that some employees "have always been able to access user content, but somehow no one noticed."

Others took to Twitter to voice their views about the new policy.


(Image: EtherealMind/Twitter)


(Image: Jon Sawyer/Twitter)


(Image: Joe Hill/Twitter)

Evernote did not respond to a request for comment. We'll update if we hear back.

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