A Note From Chris O’Neill about Evernote’s Privacy Policy

Posted by Chris O'Neill on 15 Dec 2016

Posted by Chris O'Neill on 15 Dec 2016


As a result of feedback from you, our customers, we have decided to withdraw the changes we announced in this post. In addition, Evernote is committed to being a leading advocate for Internet privacy and to set the bar for us and other companies that have the responsibility to protect your data. Read more about the steps we’re taking to exceed your expectations as we move forward.

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.

What’s Not Changing

Privacy has always been at the heart of Evernote, and we’re as committed as ever to upholding our Three Laws of Data Protection. These laws guide everything we do, and, I believe, represent industry-leading standards for privacy.

In enforcing these laws, Evernote employees do not view the content of user notes except in very limited cases. 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 number of employees who are authorized to view this content is extremely limited by our existing policies, and I am personally involved in defining them.

What Is Changing

We believe we can make our users even more productive with technologies such as machine learning that will allow you to automate functions you now have to do manually, like creating to-do lists or putting together travel itineraries. Machine learning might sound like science fiction where computers make their own decisions. In reality, machines still need a human to check on them. To get there, Evernote data scientists need to do spot checks as they develop the technology. We’ll introduce this change on January 23, 2017, but you control whether or not your data is used for this purpose at any 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.

Thank you for bringing this issue to our attention. We always welcome and listen to your feedback, and we’ll continue to provide additional clarity in an updated FAQ page over the next few days. If you have further questions, please reach out to us on social media or our forums.


Chris O’Neill

CEO, Evernote


Evernote Premium

Upgrade for features to help you live and work smarter.

Go Premium
View more stories in 'News'

One comment RSS

  • Forrest Dylan Bryant

    To discuss this change or ask questions, please visit our forums using the link above.