Thoughts on Evernote in the News

Evernote has been in the news recently, having rightly ruffled some feathers, for updating their company privacy policy saying the following:

1) They may use your data to test and improve their product through machine learning algorithms

2) Employees may access your data

They’ve also, more recently, taken a step back issuing an apology in a FastCompany article. The claim is that this information was only going to be used towards product improvement. This, while very likely true, is troubling for a few reasons:

1) Your data, on Evernote’s servers is likely stored in the clear (unencrypted), which is how employees and algorithms can parse it. If you have sensitive information, it isn’t magically excluded or protected. Hopefully you aren’t storing tax documentation in the clear over there?

2) Evernote does not place you, the customer, and your privacy first and foremost. Their priority, quite clearly as expressed through their actions, seems to be product improvement with the customer second.

So, they may backtrack and completely reverse this decision, however they’ve made their philosophy pretty clear. Even if you’re a paying customer of the product, really, you’re not foremost on their list of priorities. They will leverage content that you trust them with, as they see fit, to improve their product, and ultimately their bottom line.

Between this, and their rather bothersome change to their basic plan of adding a two device limit to their application, I see many good reasons to consider an alternative like Microsoft OneNote. I like the idea of supporting the little guy, when it comes to business, but the little guy has to have reasonable business practices when it comes to handling my information.

This really is a shame – they have a vastly superior product, from a User Interface perspective, and I’d hate to leave them.


Author: sylint

I'm a business analyst, working in Information Management and Information Technology. Technically, I'm a librarian, though I prefer to think of myself as professionally varied.

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