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Dropbox causes storm with Condoleezza Rice appointment

11 Apr 2014
Dropbox logo

Dropbox has found itself at the centre of controversy after announcing the appointment of former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice to its board of directors, prompting a campaign calling for customers to stop using the service.

Dropbox announced the appointment of Rice on its company blog earlier this week, stating that it had "sought out a leader who could help us expand our global footprint".

However, the move has caused a storm of controversy over Rice's role in the Bush administration in the previous decade, especially events that led to the war in Iraq and allegations that the US tortured terror suspects.

A campaign has sprung up, with websites such as Drop Dropbox urging customers to petition Dropbox founder and chief executive Drew Houston to remove Rice from the board of directors. It also suggests a list of alternative cloud storage and file sharing sites.

In particular, the Drop Dropbox site points out that Rice was a prominent member of the Bush administration at a time when the US government was expanding its surveillance activities on the internet, culminating in the PRISM spying scandal that has continued to dominate the headlines over the past year.

The protesters' implication is that it is inappropriate for a person such as Rice to hold such a key post in a company whose business model involves handling and storing its users' private information.

"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, an organisation we are trusting with our most important business and personal data?" the site asks.

At the time of publishing Dropbox had not responded to the calls for Rice to be removed.

Earlier this year Dropbox revealed it had secured $250m in investment and was valued at an estimated $10bn, as a stock market flotation for the firm was mooted.

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Daniel Robinson

Daniel Robinson is technology editor at V3, and has been working as a technology journalist for over two decades. Dan has served on a number of publications including PC Direct and enterprise news publication IT Week. Areas of coverage include desktops, laptops, smartphones, enterprise mobility, storage, networks, servers, microprocessors, virtualisation and cloud computing.

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