Dropbox criticised for Rice board membership

April 11, 2014 // 10:31 a.m.

Tags: #chevron #cloud #cloud-storage #condoleezza-rice #dennis-woodside #drew-houston #dropbox #privacy #sujay-jaswa

The appointment of former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to the board of cloud storage giant Dropbox has caused an uproar among privacy activists, with many calling for her immediate resignation.

Echoing the recent appointment of JavaScript creator Brendan Eich to the role of Mozilla Corporation chief executive and his rapid resignation following public protest over his support of the anti-gay-marriage Proposition 8, the appointment of Rice to Dropbox's board has led to protests and calls for boycotts.

Announced at the same time as the appointment of former Motorola chief executive Dennis Woodside as chief operating officer and the promotion of Sujay Jaswa to chief financial officer, Dropbox founder Drew Houston spun Rice's appointment as a positive. '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,' explained Houston. 'We’re honoured to be adding someone as brilliant and accomplished as Dr. Rice to our team.'

Critics are saying that Houston has left off a few other, more questionable, achievements from that list: acting as National Security Advisor to President Bush in the run-up to the war with Iraq, supporting the decision to invade based on flawed intelligence; giving the go-ahead to the Bush administration's use of 'enhanced interrogation' techniques which amounted to torture of suspects; serving on the board of oil giant Chevron; and supporting and directly authorising warrantless wiretaps of UN Security Council members.

It's the latter, in particular, that has privacy activists in a stir. 'Given everything we now know about the US's warrantless surveillance program, and Rice's role in it, why on earth would we want someone like her involved with Dropbox,' a protest site enquires, 'an organisation we are trusting with our most important business and personal data?'

Dropbox has not yet responded to criticisms surrounding Rice's appointment to the board.
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