Evernote – Data Protection Woes…

Unfortunately, Evernote cannot be used for any personal or confidential information it seems if you’re from the EU. As I was wading through the required confidentiality and data protection required for my DPhil fieldwork, I had to really dig around to find out what the University’s (that is Oxford’s) policy on cloud storage. It appears this excludes any transfer of data outside of the EEA (the European Economic Area). That is even with the new ‘Privacy Shield’ between the EU and the USA.

I was thinking of using Evernote as a simple tool to store notes and my research diary – with the syncing a useful back-up tool. However Evernote is not yet a signatory to the new ‘Privacy Shield’, which you can check here. Although Evernote is a signatory to the old ‘Safe Harbor’ agreement, this is now invalid – as can be seen on this page – following the European Court of Justice’s ruling in October 2015. Therefore if you are a researcher, and are using Evernote with information that falls under Data Protection, you are likely falling foul of your obligations to ensure it remains under EU jurisdiction.

Therefore I recommend you follow instructions here to create a local notebook only that is stored only on the computer you are using it on. Instructions are here. This is the only way to ensure you are keeping with requirements under EU data protection and ensuring your research maintains data security integrity. I’m hoping Evernote sign up to ‘Privacy Shield’ soon so that I can sync my notes as this would be very useful.


If I am wrong, it would be great to know, but after a good time searching I cannot find evidence to the contrary.

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