When you've lost Star Trek actor Wil Wheaton, you know you're in trouble.
"This is primarily to make sure that our machine learning technologies are working correctly, in order to surface the most relevant content and features to you," Evernote says. "While our computer systems do a pretty good job, sometimes a limited amount of human review is simply unavoidable in order to make sure everything is working exactly as it should."
Evernote's assurances weren't good enough for some users.
"Time to uninstall Evernote. Like, right now," says Wheaton on Twitter.
"Yeah, I love Evernote but this pretty much does it for me," says "SurlyDave" on reddit.com/r/evernote. "The suggestion that if I don't consent to someone reading my notes I won't have access to future upgrades means I'll be looking elsewhere for a similar product. Shame, because I really use Evernote a lot and moving my data across will be a big hassle."
"You are uploading stuff to the cloud, assume you have ZERO privacy," says ryanmercer, who adds that users seeking privacy should look for a service that complies with the US Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
We contacted Evernote about this, and a spokesman said the company is working on a statement about the issue.
Evernote says users can use encryption on its desktop clients to protect data. Users can also opt out of the machine learning feature, which will also stop Evernote employees accessing data to improve machine learning.
Machine learning is strategic to Evernote. Part of the company's reason for an ambitious migration to the Google Cloud Platform from Evernote's own private cloud was to get access to Google's machine learning services. (See Why the Evernote Elephant Packed Its Trunk for Google Cloud.)
Evernote has had a tumultuous history. In 2012, the company became one of Silicon Valley's first so-called "unicorns" -- privately held companies with value of more than $1 billion. The company cut 13% of its staff last year, or 47 employees, and longtime CEO Phil Libin resigned.
Evernote is looking to transition from a consumer service with a free plan used by a big base of users, as well as some paid plans, to a paid subscription service used by professionals. While it still offers a free plan, Evernote has cut back on its capabilities and raised prices, angering its users. This month, the company opened a new engineering office in San Diego. The last thing Evernote needs is a black mark for failing to protect customer data.
— Mitch Wagner, , Editor, Light Reading Enterprise Cloud