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'So sorry' Evernote rips up privacy changes

And we won't read your notes - promise

Evernote has scrapped changes to its data protection practices after a furious customer backlash.

Evernote now says it will not now implement the changes it announced earlier in the week come January 23, as it had planned.

“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. 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,” Evernote CEO Chris O’Neill said a statement.

“We are excited about what we can offer Evernote customers thanks to the use of machine learning, but we must ask for permission, not assume we have it. We’re sorry we disappointed our customers, and we are reviewing our entire privacy policy because of this.”

Evernote also vowed that no employee will read a user’s notes, unless the user opts in.

Paying customers, amongst them Reg readers, vowed to cancel their Evernote subscriptions after the clumsy announcement, which the company emailed to users this week.

Evernote used “deep learning” as a blanket justification for changes to its data protection practices, casually mentioning that staff would continue to read users' notes anyway. This is not unusual amongst cloud services – although providers are typically coy about publicising it, we noted yesterday.

And it still continues to migrate your data to Google's servers.

With the co-operation of trusted hosting providers, open source offerings can provide an alternative to big cloud offerings, where users give up their personal data in exchange for a nominally "free" service. Have a look at the Open X-change model, for example. We wrote more about how this “Google-free, NSA-free” environment would work last year, too.

We didn’t have time to run through either commercial or hosted open source alternatives in our report yesterday – but if you have a set-up working, we’d love to hear from you. ®

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