Evernote Scraps Controversial Privacy Policy Changes

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Earlier this week, Evernote announced a controversial privacy policy change which allowed the company's employees to read users' notes in some vaguely defined scenarios. Given how consumers started putting an increased focus on online privacy in recent years, this decision by Evernote immediately faced quite a bit of backlash. The Redwood City-based company tried to lower the tensions by promising this policy will only be enforced anonymously and how users who don't opt in won't have anything to worry about, but none of that truly helped reassure the firm's customers. So, following that initial feedback, Evernote decided to drop the idea of implementing this controversial privacy policy change which was initially scheduled to go into effect on January 23rd.

As Chris O'Neill, the Chief Executive Officer at Evernote explained in a blog post published on Thursday, "trust is at the heart" of Evernote, which is why the Californian firm is committed to being transparent, listen to user feedback, and publicly admit any mistakes. More specifically, O'Neill said that instead of the previously announced changes, Evernote will revise its existing privacy policy to assure its customers how all of their notes hosted by the company are private by default, and they have nothing to worry about. This decision doesn't mean Evernote will drop the implementation of machine learning solutions into its service, but the company will only offer them as optional products which users will have to request on their own. This machine learning program is expected to launch next year.

O'Neill finished his announcement by reiterating that Evernote employees have never read their customers' notes so far and will never do that unless users provide them with their explicit permission. While Evernote's response time to this controversy is commendable, it certainly isn't surprising seeing how the company is rumored to launch an initial public offering (IPO) in 2017 and its prospects may be hurt if it goes public with a bunch of unhappy users who are leaving the service due to privacy concerns. Now, while O'Neill provided no further details on the said machine learning technology Evernote is expected to implement in the future, more information will supposedly be revealed by early 2017. In the meantime, Evernote's privacy policy remains unchanged.

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