Privacy

Evernote backtracks on privacy policy

Illustration file picture.

Illustration file picture.  (REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/Files)

Evernote is scrapping its proposed Privacy Policy updates following user backlash.

The company recently introduced new rules authorizing employee access to users' saved scribblings. But the guidelines, set to go into effect on Jan. 23, were quickly discarded.

Instead, Evernote will revise its existing policy "to address our customers' concerns, reinforce that their data remains private by default, and confirm the trust they have placed in Evernote is well founded," Greg Chiemingo, senior director of communications, wrote in a blog post.

What this change boils down to is the planned opt-out for humans reading your notes becomes an opt-in.

The initial changes called for a handful of workers to basically mine folks' records to surface "the most relevant content and features." And while machine learning algorithms "do a pretty good job," Evernote said, sometimes "a limited amount of human review is simply unavoidable."

Wary customers can take measures to protect themselves by encrypting notes and/or deciding to remain out of the program. In fact, Evernote promised that "no employees will be reading note content … unless users opt in" to the machine learning process.

"We announced a change to our privacy policy that made it seem like we didn't care about the privacy of our customers or their notes," CEO Chris O'Neill said in a statement. "This was not our intent, and our customers let us know that we messed up, in no uncertain terms. We heard them, and we're taking immediate action to fix it."

Still, Evernote is skating on thin ice after recently burning users by altering its plans and pricing—forcing folks to pay a lot more for the service, or find an alternative.

Over the summer, the company jacked the price of its highest product tier by 55 percent, and gutted what's included in the lower categories, including the free offering.

For more, see PCMag's review of Evernote.

This article originally appeared on PCMag.com.