Dropbox: Condoleeza Rice appointment won't alter privacy pledge

Responding to criticism over the former US Secretary of State joining its board, CEO Drew Houston says Rice understands Dropbox's stance on privacy, fully supports "our commitments to our users."

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Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State. David Cannon, Getty Images

Dropbox CEO Drew Houston sought to quell the uproar over the appointment of former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to the company's board of directors, saying in a blog post Friday that Rice's appointment won't change its stance on privacy.

"There's nothing more important to us than keeping your stuff safe and secure. It's why we've been fighting for transparency and government surveillance reform, and why we've been vocal and public with our principles and values," Houston wrote. "We should have been clearer that none of this is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment to our Board."

The cloud storage service is trying to grow its international presence -- something Rice should be able to help with. However, after Dropbox announced her appointment earlier this week, a Web site dedicated to the "Drop Dropbox" movement called her selection "deeply disturbing" and said her board role was "problematic on a number of deeper levels, and invites serious concerns" about management's commitment "to freedom, openness, and ethics."

The movement said it objected to her role in the US decision to go to war in Iraq, as well as her position on the use of torture against prisoners. What's more, they said Rice supported the George W. Bush administration's "warrantless wiretap program and expansive domestic surveillance program."

Houston responded in his brief note today, saying that Dropbox "should have been clearer that none of this is going to change" in the aftermath of Rice's appointment.

"Our commitment to your rights and your privacy is at the heart of every decision we make, and this will continue," he wrote.

"We're honored to have Dr. Rice join our board -- she brings an incredible amount of experience and insight into international markets and the dynamics that define them," Houston wrote. "As we continue to expand into new countries, we need that type of insight to help us reach new users and defend their rights. Dr. Rice understands our stance on these issues and fully supports our commitments to our users."

In her only public comments about Dropbox since being named to the board, Rice didn't get very detailed in speaking with Bloomberg on Wednesday. "As a country, we are having a great national conversation and debate about exactly how to manage privacy concerns," Rice said in the interview. "I look forward to helping Dropbox navigate it."

 

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