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Evernote abandons new privacy policy

After announcing a new privacy policy that proved highly controversial, Evernote has backtracked and issued a statement saying that the changes will not be implemented. The reversal came after a growing backlash, with concern about the ability of Evernote staff to read users’ notes.

The company initially held firm, with Evernote CEO Chris O’Neill penning a blog post defending the changes. Less than 24 hours later, Evernote released a statement saying that the new privacy policy would not be implemented.

In the most recent statement, O’Neill acknowledged that the company had made mistakes, which lead to a rebellion from the service’s users.

“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,” O’Neill said. “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 still intends to review its existing privacy policy, but it will not introduce the revised document that had been announced.

There were two largely separate areas under which Evernote could have accessed users’ notes under the now-abandoned policy.

When initially defending the changes, O’Neill said that Evernote staff would be able to access user data to comply with legal issues, as well as in relation to customer support.

There was also a largely separate circumstance when notes would be accessed, and this related to the development of Evernote’s machine learning technology.

Although Evernote intends to push ahead with its machine learning programme, access to user data will be on an opt-in basis, for anyone that wants to contribute to the development of the platform.