Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Evernote’s new privacy policy raises eyebrows

Evernote is testing out machine learning algorithms on all the reams of content it has accumulated over the past eight years. But when it announced this move with a new privacy policy that goes into effect January 24, 2017, the company also pointed out something that many users hadn't realized: Evernote staffers will sometimes look at the content of your notes.

There are actually a number of perfectly good reasons why Evernote employees might need to read note content, and they are explained clearly in Evernote's Privacy Policy. These include complying with a lawful court order, investigating whether there has been a violation of the Terms of Service, and "protect[ing] against potential spam, malware or other security concerns."

What concerned some users, including journalist and former BuzzFeed News Editor Stacy-Marie Ishmael, is a vaguely worded section of the Privacy Policy stating that employees will look at your notes "for troubleshooting purposes or to maintain and improve the Service." She noted on Twitter that this clause is "so broad as to be all inclusive" and that it's particularly worrying for a "minority journalist in 2016." Given the hostile stance President-elect Donald Trump and some of his supporters have shown toward journalists, it's possible that journalists who want to preserve the anonymity of sources will have to stop using services like Evernote.

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