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ukw

About full encryption...

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I am no programmer so I may well be completely wrong here. But I could imagine that the main problem with offering complete encryption on a cloud-based service like Evernote may be the search / indexing function. To my understanding, the search mechanism needs to access ALL notes if you do a global search. So to find a specific word you would have to either download every single note and decrypt it, so the search term and content could be compared for a possible match. Yes, I know, this is simplified because index tables are searched, not the actual notes. But the problem is basically the same. I'm not completely sure where the search in Evernote is done; offline with a search mechanism on your device (I doubt it, think of Smartphones) or online on the servers. If the latter, I don't know how it could possibly work because all notes would have to get decrypted on the server first, which has to be impossible if you want an end-to-end encryption. 

Simply put, to find a note, the server has to read it. But the purpose of encryption is that the server can not read the content. How to solve this? 

As far as my limited understanding goes, full encryption would be possible but it would break the search functionality.

OneNote btw is facing the same problem. Yes, it can encrypt complete sections (which, in case you don't know, is the middle hierarchy level between notebook and page) but the search function is always excluding encrypted sections. 

I'd love an expert, maybe even an Evernote engineer, to drop a few words on this and hopefully confound all my theories.

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The OCR function would also be broken, as well as thumbnails, snippets, ...

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On 1/27/2019 at 3:20 AM, ukw said:

But I could imagine that the main problem with offering complete encryption on a cloud-based service like Evernote may be the search / indexing function.

This is something the Evernote staff have mentioned in a different discussion on full encryption, yes. Here's one comment from the former CTO, from 2008: 

Would need to dig to find anything more recent.

 

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On 1/27/2019 at 8:20 AM, ukw said:

I'd love an expert, maybe even an Evernote engineer, to drop a few words on this and hopefully confound all my theories.

Hi.  Not sure whether the Gurus count as 'experts' - we're just users who've been around for longer than most (and the rumour is that we're losing the label anyway).  Evernote don't typically give out what could be commercially sensitive information in the Forums anyway - and the only way we're likely to know they're launching a new feature is when it happens.  For the moment,  what you see with Evernote features is all you got.  Best we can do is to find ways to work around whatever that means for your particular use case.

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Other apps have zero-knowledge full encryption and nothing is broken—search works fine (the index is generated by your device and the data is kept locally just like Evernote does for offline use, except that unlike Evernote, the content is never shared unencrypted with any home base on the cloud).

Of course, Evernote couldn’t do things exactly the same way by just plugging in the new feature and turning it on. To get the OCR, it’d have to be done locally on our devices, for example, or we’d have to waive our encryption (perhaps with a zero-knowledge encryption feature just for designated notebooks). It would, in other words, require some imagination, but I think it is more a lack of will / interest than a technical issue at this point.

If other apps have had fully encrypted databases for years now, some of them created by individual developers, then I think a team of a few hundred folks at Evernote can handle it, IF they wanted to do it. They don’t. They’ve said as much in the past, even though there were hints at some point about “sexy” encryption. So, here we are. 

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1 hour ago, GrumpyMonkey said:

To get the OCR, it’d have to be done locally on our devices, for example, or we’d have to waive our encryption (perhaps with a zero-knowledge encryption feature just for designated notebooks). It would, in other words, require some imagination, but I think it is more a lack of will / interest than a technical issue at this point.

Focusing just on this point (and leaving aside the question of how you managed to decrypt Evernote's thought processes :o :)), if someone, say, were using Evernote to store contracts or invoices or something else that they considered sensitive, but wanted to be able to search them, they'd have to have the OCR done separately on each device, as you say, including phones. The likelihood of getting different results on different devices seems pretty high to me. That would undoubtedly produce a lot of user dissatisfaction. Of course, EN could invest development time and resources in creating OCR apps for each type of OS that would produce identical results every time. The resultant diversion of resources from other user-requested features would also produce dissatisfaction. The lag time/freezing caused by stuff getting OCRed locally would also generate dissatisfaction, I suspect. The alternative, as you suggest, would be to waive encryption--per account, per device, per notebook, per note, per attachment? What if someone forgets to waive it with respect to a crucial document, so that searches for specific terms don't show anything in that document? More dissatisfaction! (And by "dissatisfaction" I mean "b***hing in the forums.") Hard to see a real winning option here--including the fact that the lack of encryption is itself a non-winning option for you, and I'm sure, for many other users as well. Not dumping on your request, just expressing sympathy for the people who have to make these development choices.

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Yep. It might end up being like their bullet lists, if done poorly. But, if done well, we woukdn’t even know it’s there. I can’t read their minds, but judging by years of interactions, it seems to me that EN staff know it “can” be done, but aren’t doing it. It’s a choice, and one for them to make, but their competitors are choosing a different route.

Apple? Seemless note-level encryption with the touch of a button. If there’s any complaining out there, I’ve yet to hear it.

OneNote? It apparently has encryption for  sections of some kind. I don’t use it, so I can’t say for sure, but it seems OK.At any rate, it’s there.

DevonThink (OSX and iOS)? Turn it on once (like FileVault)  and it is seamless encryption for the entire database — you never have to think about it again, and it is searchable, etc. I OCR stuff in it all the time. If there are any complaints about the encryption, I haven’t heard them.

Bear, VoodooPad,  Saferoom (app for Evernote), etc. So many other folks have this problem solved. In EN, we’re still stuck with blocks of text.

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Onenote has encryption on Section (file) level and search. I assume index is saved in the file (you have to unlock it to search).

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2 hours ago, Wanderling Reborn said:

Onenote has encryption on Section (file) level and search. I assume index is saved in the file (you have to unlock it to search).

Thanks for the correction. Indeed, there wouldn't be much point in encryption if everything got indexed and saved to a non encrypted location. At this point, Evernote obviously isn't set up to do this, but that's the result of design decisions rather than technical limitations. Again, I'm fine if that's what they want to do, because it is their app to design, but ideally I'd like to see them adopt this suggestion and introduce a new feature such as an encrypted notebook or full database encryption (end to end). Zero knowledge, in my opinion, is something that has become increasingly standard in the industry. Five years ago (Snowden leaks) Evernote didn't seem like an outlier when it resisted implementing more robust encryption, but they've stood still while Apple and others have passed them by (at least, in this respect). That doesn't seem like a very good business strategy, and it certainly isn't responding well to the needs of some users (like me), who need encryption for work files. 

Yes, we can use a different app to encrypt each of thousands of files one at a time and then put them in Evernote, but that isn't exactly "user friendly" or feasible. It's far easier to just switch to a competitor and get work done––something I hope Evernote will think about now that it has new leadership.

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So, the only reason I am still using Onenote and Evernote is the convenience of taking notes on mobile devices and keeping them with related files.

Some time ago, I moved all of my data to file storage, placed in OneDrive. I used plaintext tags wherever possible to tag it, and relied on OS global search (Windows indexing, Spotlight, OneDrive search, depending on what platform I was using at the time). 

The files that I wanted to protect went into a Cryptomator encrypted set of folders, and I used an open source indexing program to search on Windows. The program and its index were saved inside encrypted storage. (This didn’t let me search on mobile, but I rarely had to because of highly organized folder structure).

For notes, I used Word documents.

So, I would have a directory called “Car abc” with all service records, manuals, scans of title and registration, loan documents etc, pertaining to that car, and a Word doc with notes and photos and hyperlinks. The way OS Indexing and cloud services’ OCR evolved in the past several years, with this setup I didn’t miss Evernote or Onenote at all.

If I only used computers, that would be it. No special services, no extra wrappers between me and my data, all files in common formats that can be simply copied or moved instead of exporting.

Where this setup didn’t work quite as well, and the main reason I went back to a dedicated app, was on mobile. Stupidly, there was no single iOS app that I was able to find, optimized for quick note taking in a common document format (Word, preferably), supporting hyperlinks and images, and allowing me to quickly save and open individual files in different directories. Word for iOS or any other app that I tried was taking too many steps before I could start writing, or only worked with records in a specific preset folder, or used a proprietary file format that couldn’t be edited in Windows. 

In the end I went back to Onenote / Evernote because I could just open a note and start writing and not worry about manually saving it in the same folder that other relevant files resided.

If I was only using desktop OS, this wound not be an issue at all - I can start or open a document in a current folder very quickly using Word or OpenOffice Writer. It’s just an iOS thing.

If I ever find a way to take a quick Word note in iOS, I will go back to this setup again. It’s future proof.

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1 hour ago, Wanderling Reborn said:

I used plaintext tags wherever possible to tag it, and relied on OS global search...

So, I would have a directory called “Car abc” with all ser...

My Evernote experience has given me freedom from directories/folders for my notes.

After the Evernote appocalypse, I will rely solely on tag search, and the notes stored in a single OS folder.

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1 hour ago, DTLow said:

My Evernote experience has given me freedom from directories/folders for my notes.

You know, I was just thinking how great it would be if the popular file systems supported tags, too. So I asked the Great Gazoogle, and voila, my dream came true! https://zapier.com/blog/how-to-use-tags-and-labels/

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2 hours ago, DTLow said:

My Evernote experience has given me freedom from directories/folders for my notes.

After the Evernote appocalypse, I will rely solely on tag search, and the notes stored in a single OS folder.

I love organizing stuff in folders :)

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@Wanderling Reborn, a few thoughts.

  1. I got tired just thinking about the time and labor involved in scanning auto documents, manuals, warranties, etc., and then materials for appliances, and documents related to contractors, and taxes, and loans, and so on to put it online. I'm 70. I don't have that much time left. Glad you're young and strong!
  2. I continue to be amazed at how many people use Evernote as an all-encompassing online document filing and retrieval system. I guess it must be good at that, but I think you've demonstrated that better systems can be created out of other tools.
  3. Quote

    So, the only reason I am still using Onenote and Evernote is the convenience of taking notes on mobile devices and keeping them with related files.

    So, yes. Evernote. It's good for notes, and it was designed to do just what you say. And exactly that is very much needed.

  4. I'm with you on folders. It's a brilliant metaphor, and it may not respond well to the way everyone's mind works, but it responds great to how my mind works. No tag evangelization, please. I will keep my folders until, well, they fold me into one.

  5. This is getting morbid. Sorry. Bottom line, for me: Evernote for notes everywhere, and the odd household record that needs to be accessible several places for awhile; filing cabinets full of literal folders for household document storage, which don't need obsessive setup and minding; a carefully structured set of digital folders and subfolders for my computer documents. Not proselytizing. Not really even explaining. Just sayin'.

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1 hour ago, Dave-in-Decatur said:

filing cabinets full of literal folders for household document storage

I have one small folder for esential documents.
Any other  paperwork gets scanned and discarded asap - I use the camera on my iPad

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Sounds like fun. I just stick it in a manila folder whose battery never dies even if the power is out for several days. To each their own.

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21 minutes ago, Dave-in-Decatur said:

I just stick it in a manila folder whose battery never dies even if the power is out for several days.

and you can burn the stuff if you start getting cold.  Sounds like a solid plan to me 😀.

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44 minutes ago, Dave-in-Decatur said:

Sounds like fun. I just stick it in a manila folder whose battery never dies even if the power is out for several days. To each their own.

What's a manila folder?  ;)

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1 hour ago, Dave-in-Decatur said:

whose battery never dies even if the power is out for several days. 

Backup power

5EBD21B5-343B-4E3D-A5E0-F2CF1C7AD028.thumb.jpeg.36aaa283848b08f06141ff09c56f3f15.jpeg

 

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4 hours ago, DTLow said:

I have one small folder for esential documents.
Any other  paperwork gets scanned and discarded asap - I use the camera on my iPad

Same for me. I used to hate with sheer, burning, red hot passion having to deal with freaking piles and piles and piles of endless paperwork. Credit card bills... mortgages.. kids’ vaccinations... bank statements... remodeling documents.... especially one-off bits of paper. Where is that letter from two years ago with names and phone numbers of our HOA board members ? It’s somewere in the “Home” folder.. too bad that the “Home” folder is actually four large handing files literally bursting at the seams... 

Getting a phone out, taking scans of recent documents, filing and shredding them takes at most an hour a month, combined. I spend more time over the course of my life wiping my butt :)

Now when I was using a flatbed scanner, it was still a chore. But with modern phone scanning apps, the process is super fast and simple.

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3 hours ago, CalS said:

What's a manila folder?  ;)

emojii in my primary notebook name211826508_ScreenShot2019-01-30at20_21_41.png.7cefa804475486eae4a3bcaa869341c9.png

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