The Controversial Evernote Privacy Policy Update Was Retracted After Outrage From Consumers.

A few days ago I received an email. It was from Evernote, a privacy policy update. I didn’t think much of it at the time. Later I noticed people complaining about it, so I decided to read it. It turns out, it gave employees, albeit a small amount, access to reading your notes. I immediately found this to be a problem for myself and as someone in the technology business. Companies should be working towards making privacy more accessible, not the other way around. Governments and corporations are always fighting against personal privacy lately. This anti-privacy policy shift is a huge problem, but for Evernote, they decided the fallout from their customer base was not worth it. The Controversial Evernote Privacy Policy Update Was Retracted

You can find the proposed Privacy Policy, as well as updates from Evernote in their Notice of Privacy Policy Updates (January 2017)

Social Media Outrage and Questions before the controversial Evernote Privacy Policy update was retracted.

Concerned users took the issue of Evernote’s privacy policy update up on social media; this is one of the driving forces that lead to why the controversial Evernote Privacy Policy update was retracted in the first place.

Their response was to admit the Evernote Privacy Policy update was a failure. It was also a breach of trust. Here is their official statement on Twitter.

The controversial Evernote Privacy Policy update was retracted, but there is still a lingering elephant in the room. They will still have computer programs doing it, and they won’t disallow customer data from being seen. Not if you don’t opt out. They claim the data will be anonymous, however.

Evernote Privacy Policy Update









Evernote’s Statements on Privacy

There could be a lot of reasons they want your data. Not all of them are harmful. However, it remains they still wanted it. Perhaps they wanted it for a more pleasant experience like they claim. Maybe they will be releasing new features. In the above piece they do mention their “Three Laws of Data Protection” which is:

Controversial Evernote Privacy Policy Update Was Retracted




You can read more on Evernote’s Three Laws of Data Protection page as it goes into more detail on what those three laws mean. You can also view their Transparency Report for 2015 for information on how they have handled information in the past.

Controversial Evernote Privacy Policy Update Was Retracted

Evernote CEO Chris O’Neill (left) and Evernote Co-founder and Executive Chairman Phil Libin. Source: Evernote’s Blog

Evernote’s CEO Chris O’Neal made a few statements publically and online about why the controversial Evernote Privacy Policy update was retracted. He apologizes for how the information was given to the consumer, as it wasn’t clear enough.

We recently announced an update to Evernote’s privacy policy that we communicated poorly,  and it resulted in some understandable confusion. We’ve heard your concerns, and we apologize for any angst we may have caused. In response to the questions you’ve raised, let me be clear about what’s not changing and what is changing. – CEO Chris O’Neill on Evernote’s Blog 

He wrote more information on what is and isn’t changing in their privacy policy, which you can see here:

Things to realize:

  • If you opt in, your data will be accessible to employees but not under your name. IE it will be anonymous.
  • If you opt in, you will have a more personal experience with Evernote, which means they may have new features planned.
  • Their software or AI as some are calling it will mask any personal information from employees before they have a chance to see it.
  • Also, companies are slowly but surely inching their way to a zero privacy ecosystem in technology.

Companies are becoming more and more transparent with our data. There are many pressures to do this as there is a lot of profit from marketing research and development. There is also a lot of money with selling your data, and many companies do with your permission. Be aware of your privacy rights. Watch out for your privacy, even if you have nothing to hide.

If you don’t think your privacy matters because you have nothing to hide, realize that isn’t the point. It isn’t about whether you are hiding something. It’s about monitoring for money, censorship, job opportunities, etc.

The Future of Privacy

Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say. — Edward Snowden’s “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit, May 21, 2015

I don’t want to live in a world where everything that I say, everything I do, everyone I talk to, every expression of creativity or love or friendship is recorded. — “Edward Snowden: ‘The US government will say I aided our enemies,’” July 8, 2013

A child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all. They’ll never know what it means to have a private moment to themselves an unrecorded, unanalyzed thought. And that’s a problem because privacy matters; privacy is what allows us to determine who we are and who we want to be. — “Snowden Sends Christmas Message To USA,” Dec. 25, 2013

The tide has turned, and we can finally see a future where we can enjoy security without sacrificing our privacy. Our rights cannot be limited by a secret organization … Even the defenders of mass surveillance, those who may not be persuaded that our surveillance technologies have dangerously outpaced democratic controls, now agree that in democracies, surveillance of the public must be debated by the public.  — “An Open Letter to the People of Brazil,” Dec. 17, 2013

The future of having no privacy is already upon us with rule 41 being passed, allowing the FBI legal authority to hack into computer systems en masse.