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Enlarge / Evernote spells out when its employees can read your notes. You cannot opt out. The highlighted phrase, with vague wording about “troubleshooting,” is what has concerned users.
Of course, Evernote employees might have to read notes to deal with bugs and abuse, but aren’t those problems already covered by the “protect against potential spam, malware or other security concerns” language? It’s unclear why Evernote chose to add the capacious “troubleshooting” clause to its policy, given how broadly it could be interpreted.
Anthropologist Michael Oman-Regan warned followers on Twitter that they need to be aware of the policy, adding, “If you’re using Evernote for research with human subjects, it may be necessary to export your data and leave.” That’s because researchers must be able to guarantee the privacy of human subjects in experiments. Evernote no longer allows any researcher to make that guarantee.
For its part, Evernote has assured users that they can opt out of the machine learning features, so they’re guaranteed that no algorithms will look at their notes. If users with sensitive data want to benefit from machine learning, they also have the option to encrypt private notes and make them off-limits to algorithms. As long as you choose a good password, it should be off-limits to humans too.
Evernote did not immediately respond to a request for comment on its new policy.