Dropbox users react angrily to Condoleezza Rice’s appointment to board

11 Apr 2014

Condoleezza Rice, Dropbox board member and former US secretary of state. Photo via US Embassy New Delhi/Flickr

In a bid to increase its international presence, Dropbox made the decision to appoint the US’ former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice to its board, receiving angry reactions from a number of users.

A group going under the name #DropDropbox are calling out the cloud storage company’s decision to appoint the former member of the previous US government for what they see as a morally reprehensible decision, given that particular government’s involvement in the war in Iraq and its alleged use of torture in the name of American values.

In Dropbox’s original statement on the appointment, the company said, “When looking to grow our board, we sought out a leader who could help us expand our global footprint. Dr Rice has had an illustrious career as provost of Stanford University, board member of companies like Hewlett-Packard and Charles Schwab, and former United States secretary of state. We’re honoured to be adding someone as brilliant and accomplished as Dr Rice to our team.”

However, on the #DropDropbox website, the group said that aside from the ethical implications, they fear a former high-ranking government employee being involved with a data storage company.

“Choosing Condoleezza Rice for Dropbox’s board is problematic on a number of deeper levels, and invites serious concerns about Drew Houston (Dropbox’s CEO) and the senior leadership at Dropbox’s commitment to freedom, openness, and ethics. When a company quite literally has access to all of your data, ethics become more than a fun thought experiment.”

According to the group’s findings, Rice authorised several wire taps on members of the UN Security Council during her time as secretary of state.

“Given everything we now know about the US’ warrantless surveillance programme, and Rice’s role in it, why on earth would we want someone like her involved with Dropbox, an organisation we are trusting with our most important business and personal data?” the group said.

Rice has said in interviews about her Dropbox appointment that she will be looking into privacy concerns in the company but has denied any suggestion she would be subverting its users’ private data.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic