There are certain things that matter to us, that we fight for, and that define virtually every decision that we make at Evernote. In 2011, we laid them out in our 3 Laws of Data Protection:
- Your Data is Yours
- Your Data is Protected
- Your Data is Portable
Over the past few years, we’ve seen a welcome shift across our entire industry towards more transparency around data use, intent, and business model. We’re committed to playing a leading role in this movement. With this in mind, we thought this would be a good time to bring the Three Laws up to date.
1. Your Data is Yours
We do not own your data. Putting notes and other content into Evernote does not change that content’s ownership or copyright status. If the data was yours to begin with, it remains yours after you put it in Evernote. Of course, if the data wasn’t yours to begin with, putting it in Evernote doesn’t make it yours. This is true of all of our products and services.
By using our products, you give Evernote permission to do certain things with your data so that we can run our service. For example, you give us permission to back it up, send it over a network, index it for searching, display it on your various devices, etc. Some of these operations may require us to send your data to our normal business partners–such as a network operator–that we have contracted with to provide parts of the Evernote Service. Before we do this, we’ll always make sure that our contracts with such partners protect your ownership rights.
Other than giving us the permission to perform these limited operations so we can run the Evernote Service, you retain all the rights to your data.
2. Your Data is Protected
Everything you put into Evernote is private by default. We are not a “big data” company and do not try to make money from your content. Our systems automatically analyze your data in order to power Evernote features, such as search and related notes, and to tell you about important features and products that we think will enhance your Evernote experience, but we never give or sell your content to any third party for advertising purposes.
Our business model is old-fashioned: we only make money when you decide to pay us for a great product. This means that trust is our biggest asset and keeping your data private is fundamental.
There are features in Evernote which allow you to publish and share some of your notes with others, but these are totally optional and whether or not you use them is up to you. If you choose to connect your Evernote account with one of our many partners, you may be giving the partner access to some or all of your data. We will tell you how the partner application will access your account and you can turn off access whenever you want.
In addition, we take many precautions to protect your data from accidental loss and theft. Everything you put into an Evernote synchronized notebook is stored in our secure data center with multiple redundant servers, storage devices and off-site backups. Communications between Evernote clients and servers (and between our various data centers) are all encrypted. We provide industry-leading security technologies, like two factor authentication, to all users, and we’re constantly investing in ways to improve data protection. We take the utmost care in protecting your password and no one at Evernote will ever ask you for it.
We support industry efforts to promote full transparency about government requests for data and have established a comprehensive legal process for handling such requests. View our Transparency Report for more details.
3. Your Data is Portable
Even though millions of people have their most important information in Evernote, we still want to make sure that they can leave the service quickly and easily. There is no data lock-in with Evernote. We are committed to making it straightforward for you to get all of your data into, and out of, Evernote at any time. Our desktop software lets you export all of your notes and content in human-readable HTML, as well as a fully documented machine-readable XML format. We also have a full, free API that lets you access all of your data.
Our philosophy is that by making it possible for you to leave at any time, we’re forever-motivated to build great things so that you’ll want to stay. And we hope you do stay, for years and even decades. To this end we’re committed to investing in technologies that will make your data accessible far into the future.
This note is not a legal document, it’s meant to be a plain-language description of our fundamental business values and how we think about your data. We’ll update it from time to time to keep up with the times, but the core principles will not change: your data is yours, your data is protected and your data is portable. We’re trying to build a hundred year startup and this is how we aim to do it.