Anti-Dropbox protest fires up after Condoleezza joins board

#DropDropbox protesters say it doesn’t make sense for an alleged warrantless wiretapping advocate to be appointed to the board of a secure cloud storage service.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Dara Kerr
2 min read

Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. James Martin/CNET

Former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is a polarizing figure.

In some circles, she's portrayed as a fiercely intelligent and loyal person who broke glass ceilings to become the first black woman to serve as secretary of state. In other circles, she's seen as a dishonest politician who allegedly orchestrated the US's role in the Iraq War, backed torture policies, and approved of warrantless wiretapping.

Yesterday, the cloud storage service Dropbox announced that it wanted to boost its international presence, so it appointed Rice to its board of directors. This announcement angered a slew of users. And, by Thursday, an online protest had fired up, demanding the company drop Rice or users will "drop Dropbox."

"This is deeply disturbing, and anyone -- or any business -- who values ethics should be concerned," reads a Web site dedicated to the Drop Dropbox movement. "Choosing Condoleezza Rice for Dropbox's Board is problematic on a number of deeper levels, and invites serious concerns about [CEO] Drew Houston 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."

The site details its reasons why it believes Rice is not fit to serve on Dropbox's board. She "helped start the Iraq War" and allegedly lied about non-existent weapons of mass destruction, the site writes, and she was "involved in the creation of the Bush administration's torture program."

But the most worrisome aspect of Rice, as far as Dropbox users are concerned, was her alleged support and authorization of warrantless wiretaps, says the site.

"Rice not only spoke in favor of the Bush administration's warrantless wiretap program and expansive domestic surveillance program, she authorized the warrantless wiretap of UN Security Council members," the site says. "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 organization we are trusting with our most important business and personal data?"

The site urges users to contact Houston and tell him to "drop Condoleezza Rice or we will #DropDropbox." Since the online protest started, hundreds of people have taken to Twitter with this "drop Dropbox" message for Houston.

For her part, it's unclear what Rice thinks about privacy for Dropbox. In an interview with Bloomberg on Wednesday, she did say it was a major issue.

"As a country, we are having a great national conversation and debate about exactly how to manage privacy concerns," Rice told Bloomberg. "I look forward to helping Dropbox navigate it."

CNET contacted Dropbox for comment. We'll update the story when we get more information.