–Evernote CEO Chris O’Neill
Excellent object lesson in the power of the consumer. What further privacy skirmishes will be fought and won in the coming year?
As reported by numerous media outlets, Evernote – which already miffed many users in June by both raising subscription rates and limiting devices for free accounts – seems, incomprehensibly, to have crossed a bright line:
Evernote says users can opt out of having their notes reviewed for machine learning purposes, but says that no user can opt out of having their notes read altogether. Employees can also read notes to investigate violations of the company’s terms of service or to comply with law enforcement or court orders.
There is no legitimate reason for you to have to go in and read your customer’s private content (unless they call or post about a technical problem with something specifically, and grant you temporary permission to go in and look at it) and Evernote’s announcement about this change does nothing but make “losing features” appear to be punitive – a way for Evernote to punish the customers who are not “cooperating”.
In an attempt to calm the waters, Evernote has pointed out that you can always encrypt your stuff to keep it from prying eyes, and that only a limited number of its employees who’ve undergone background checks have access to it. Which, predictably, has had the opposite effect among Evernote customers.
No comment yet from Evernote, but Lifehacker is pointing folks to its post from June: How to Jump Ship from Evernote and Take Your Data With You. If you value your privacy, do not go gently into that good night.