Evernote will “look at your data” (how to opt out)

Chris Burns - Dec 14, 2016, 12:35 pm CST
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Evernote will “look at your data” (how to opt out)

Privacy in saved information in Evernote might not be what it used to be come January 2017. According to the company itself, they’ll be updating their service to “process and take action on [your thoughts] – to think.” If that weren’t creepy enough, they’re also updating their privacy policy which now includes an opt-out provision which says Evernote Engineers wont “look at your data to improve the service.”

This update will go into effect on January 23rd, 2017. Evernote suggests that after that date, if anyone continues to use their service, they’ve automatically consented to their new privacy policy. Two changes to the privacy policy make way for Evernote Engineers to look into account data for “improving the Evernote service.”

While Evernote says they’re staying committed to their 3 Laws of Data Protection (Your data is yours, it is protected, and it is portable,) we’re not so sure. It becomes apparent in the company’s FAQ about the changes being made in the new year. The premise seems innocent enough:

“The latest update to the Privacy Policy allows some Evernote employees to exercise oversight of machine learning technologies applied to account content, subject to the limits described below, for the purposes of developing and improving the Evernote service.” – Evernote

Evernote needs to see your data in order to make sure their computers are doing what they’re supposed to do. If your data doesn’t match the results they’re getting for your personalization features of the future, they’ll be able to make changes. Amazon maintains that they’ll limit their peeking into your data to a minimum.

Evernote’s FAQ suggests that they will limit the number of Evernote employees who have access to user data. This limit is outlined by the list of functions shown in the “Information Access and Disclosure” section of their newest Privacy Policy. They also suggest that these employees have been subject to “background checks and receive specific security and privacy training at least annually.”

How to opt out

Not all Evernote employees will be digging through user data, and Evernote says they wont be selling any data. But some users will choose to opt out anyway. This process is relatively easy.

For Evernote Business accounts, an admin will need to head to their Admin Console and find “Allow Evernote to use business data to improve my experience.” Tap out and your whole group will be out.

Everyone else will want to head to their Account Settings and find “Allow Evernote to use my data to improve my experience.” And tap out – and as it is with the business version it is here, too: Evernote has a warning. This warning suggests the following:

“If you do opt out, however, you may not be able to get the most out of your Evernote experience.” – Evernote

In short, it’s like they’re saying “let us look at your data or you probably won’t have access to all the fun stuff we’re making.” Evernote’s FAQ on this change goes so far as to mention how users can leave the Evernote service if they don’t like the changes.

“If you wish, you also can decide to export your data and leave the Evernote service by following these steps,” said Evernote PR. “We would hate to see you go, though, especially when we continue to have so many exciting new developments to share with you!”

If all of this weren’t enough from Evernote to convince users that their information isn’t 100% private, there’s also the Privacy Policy (linked above) section entitled “Does Evernote Share My Personal Information or Content?” Therein lies a collection of ways Evernote employees look at user content in ways that cannot be opted-out of. That’s for user-initiated transactions, mostly though, so no worries!


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