Earlier this week, Dropbox held a high-profile event to release a slew of new products, including Mailbox for Android and Mac as well as a new photo-backup app called Carousel — but the company also slipped another major announcement under the radar. The same day as its big product launches, Dropbox announced that Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State under the Bush administration, had joined the company's board of directors. While Dropbox CEO Drew Houston didn't announce this on stage, the company did acknowledge her joining the board in a blog post covering a number of leadership changes.
Perhaps predictably, a portion of the internet has reacted with outrage, causing Houston to address any potential privacy concerns that may come along with an advocate for warrantless wiretapping joining Dropbox's board. "There's nothing more important to us than keeping your stuff safe and secure," Houston writes. "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." He notes that "none of that will change" with Rice joining the Dropbox board, and reiterated the fact that the company was proud to have her on the board.
"Our commitment to your rights and your privacy is at the heart of every decision we make, and this will continue."
Opponents of Rice's appointment to the Dropbox board have started a "Drop Dropbox" campaign — the hashtag has popped up all over Twitter, and a website details a number of reasons that Rice isn't fit to be on Dropbox's board. Of particular relevance is her support of warrantless wiretaps, something that is making a set of Dropbox consumers nervous given the recent scrutiny that data privacy has come under. The site also cites her involvement in "help[ing] start the Iraq war" and "the creation of the Bush administration's torture program" as reasons to avoid using the cloud storage service.
Despite the reaction, there's little evidence so far to believe that Dropbox will go back on its appointment. Firefox CEO Brendan Eich stepped down amid a furor over his donation in 2008 to California's Proposition 8 after it was revealed he had donated money in 2008 to California's Proposition 8 (which made same-sex marriage illegal) — but his resignation appeared to be more a result of anger stemming from those in the company rather than end users of its product. In the case of Dropbox, its CEO is publicly backing its new board member, so we're not expecting Rice to go anywhere — though if the controversy continues, there's always a chance her presence could become more of a distraction than an asset.