Evernote has caused something of a ruckus online after it announced updates to its Privacy Policy.

The news that had folks throwing up their hands in protest has to do with Evernote employees being able to read your notes. That sounds terrible because nobody wants a faceless individual trawling through their memoirs or grocery lists.

In light of this uproar Evernote chief executive officer, Chris O’Neill has penned a blog post in which he explains the changes more clearly. The CEO admits that the changes were communicated poorly and goes on to say that employees won’t have unfettered access to a user’s account.

“Evernote employees do not view the content of user notes except in very limited cases,” explained O’Neill. “Like other internet companies, we must comply with legal requirements such as responding to a warrant, investigating violations of our Terms of Service such as reports of harmful or illegal content, and troubleshooting at the request of users.”

The CEO goes onto say that the number of employees that are authorised to access user content is extremely small.

Machine learning

Another aspect of the privacy policy which might allow Evernote employees to see your notes is the addition of machine learning. The firm wants to introduce this new feature to allow users to automate certain things like creating to-do lists and travel itineraries.

Only if users opt-in to this service will their notes be seen from time to time.

“If you choose to participate in these experimental features, you’ll enjoy a more personalized experience. Select Evernote employees may see random content to ensure the features are working properly but they won’t know who it belongs to. They’ll only see the snippet they’re checking. Not only that, but if a machine identifies any personal information, it will mask it from the employee,” explains the CEO.

Of course users have every right to throw their arms up in protest when a company announces that employees will be able to see their personal information and Evernote brought that upon itself by not clearly communicating what the changes to its privacy policy entailed.

The updated Privacy Policy comes into effect 23rd January 2017 so if you’re not comfortable with Evernote sharing your information with authorities you can delete your account before then.

Sadly, deleting your account is the only way to opt-out of these changes as they are part of the privacy policy that you agreed to when you signed up for Evernote.

[Image – CC BY 2.0 Alan Dean]
Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.