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Evernote will not implement its controversial new privacy policy on January 23 after all

After receiving a tremendous amount of user backlash yesterday, Evernote has decided not to move forward with the revisions to its privacy policy that it planned to put into effect on January 23. They would have given the note-taking service more latitude to allow certain employees to look at the information its users stored, in the interest of improving machine-learning algorithms.

“We’re going to take a step back, and not just think about machine learning and what that means for us, but also think about how we can express our approach to privacy in the most clear way possible,” Andrew Malcolm, Evernote’s senior VP of marketing, told Fast Company. “So users can have confidence that we’re as committed to privacy as we’ve ever been, but also understand how we do that.”

“We screwed up, and I want to be really clear about that,” says Evernote CEO Chris O’Neill. “This was not from a root of anything but good intentions.”

“The headlines that are being written just aren’t true,” he adds. “Human beings don’t read notes without people’s permission. Full stop.”

O’Neill says that Evernote employees will only access notes when users expressly ask for support help with an issue, or when Evernote has been compelled to share notes with law enforcement. Users’ notes may also be viewed while they’re participating in beta tests of new features, but only with users’ express permission, and only after they have chosen to be part of the beta-testing process.

EP