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Under-fire Evernote releases statement amid privacy concerns

Evernote CEO Chris O’Neill has defended his company’s new privacy policy, following growing concern amongst users. The revised document allows for Evernote staff to access users’ content, a situation which O’Neill has sought to explain.

O’Neill has personally penned a statement on the company’s blog, in which he attempts to provide further clarity.

The Evernote boss has said that staff will only access user’s content in limited circumstances, citing legal obligations as an example of a situation where notes may be accessed.

“Like other internet companies, we must comply with legal requirements such as responding to a warrant, investigating violations of our Terms of Service such as reports of harmful or illegal content, and troubleshooting at the request of users,” O’Neill said.

Only a restricted number of Evernote staff are able to access users’ content, according to O’Neill.

“The number of employees who are authorised to view this content is extremely limited by our existing policies, and I am personally involved in defining them,” O’Neill said.

However, O’Neill did not strictly define the circumstances in which content may be accessed, leaving some users to question in which other situations data may be obtained, aside from the examples specified.

In addition, although O’Neill’s comment that the number of staff who can access content is ‘limited’, this comment does not really provide any clarification. In the statement, he does not specify how many Evernote employees are able to access user data, or what positions within the company they hold.

Another factor raised by O’Neill is Evernote’s implementation of machine learning. He stated that although some user data may be accessed as part of the development process, this would be anonymised, and users could control whether they take part in this particular programme.

[via Evernote blog]