Evernote Employees Can Read Your Notes, And There’s No Way To Opt-Out

Evernote Employees Can Read Your Notes, And There’s No Way To Opt-Out

Evernote just posted an update to its Privacy Policy that details how the company will make use of some new machine learning tools. In order for those tools to work, Evernote will need to allow a human review of your notes, and that isn’t the only reason an employee would look at your notes.

In a recent update to its Privacy Policy set to go into effect on 23 January 2017, Evernote lays out how their machine learning technology will work, which most notably includes the fact that “human review is simply unavoidable”. The machine learning analyses your notes, then provides a number of features, including improved search, learning how you use Evernote then showing you data specific to how you use it and even detecting if you’re doing something like making a list then suggesting different features. In order to make sure their technology is operating as its supposed to, employees will need to look at the content of some notes. This does not mean all Evernote employees will have access to this data, but it does mean some will.

Evernote allows you to opt out of machine learning technologies (next to “Allow Evernote to use my data to improve my experience”), but Twitter user Adron Buske highlights the fact that opting out doesn’t exactly get you anywhere in regards to the other reasons employees might look at your notes:


According to the Privacy Policy, Evernote employees can look at the content of your notes:

  • If they believe you’re violating a Terms of Service
  • For troubleshooting purposes or to “maintain and improve the service”
  • If they deem it necessary to protect the rights, property or personal safety of Evernote and its users
  • To comply with legal obligations like warrants, court orders, subpoenas or other government requests

If you’re worried about the content of your notes falling under the eyes of an employee or through a government request, you can always encrypt them so even employees can’t read them, but it’s still an off-putting practice for some people.

Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to pick up and leave Evernote if you’re not a fan of the new Privacy Policy. That policy is worth a closer look if you’re an Evernote user, so make sure you read it and decide how you feel about it. This page has a list of most of the new changes.

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