Condi Rice Joins Dropbox Board of Directors. Who Should Worry?

Never trust anybody who uses the words "national conversation."Credit: darthdowney / photo on flickrCondoleezza Rice, former secretary of state under George W. Bush and defender of his administration’s sins, has joined the board of file-sharing service Dropbox. Here’s how Businessweek reported it:

The former secretary of state’s consulting firm, RiceHadleyGates, has been advising the startup on management issues for the last year. Now she’ll help the company think about such matters as international expansion and privacy, an issue that dogs every cloud company in the age of Edward Snowden and the NSA.

"As a country, we are having a great national conversation and debate about exactly how to manage privacy concerns,” Rice says about her new position. “I look forward to helping Dropbox navigate it."

There has been some outrage in response to the idea of Rice "thinking" about privacy. In 2005, Rice defended President Bush skipping the Foreign Intelligence Service Act (FISA) Court and not bothering with getting warrants to place National Security Agency (NSA) wiretaps on foreigners in the U.S. with suspected terrorist ties (despite concerns at the time from both Democrats and Republicans in Congress).

Those who remember Edward Snowden’s very first NSA document dump about PRISM, the program to give NSA access to files and communications on servers at several major Internet companies, may recall that Dropbox was not yet listed as a participant program but would be joining soon. Dropbox denied any involvement at the time—but then, so did everybody else.

Rice’s addition to the board has quickly prompted the creation of the "Drop Dropbox" campaign to encourage Dropbox to dump Rice or for consumers to dump Dropbox. Though ostensibly her support for the surveillance state should be the excluding factor for leadership of the company, Drop Dropbox also wants to use Rice's involvement in starting the Iraq War, defense of torture, and role on the board of directors for Chevron as reasons why she shouldn’t serve. While the first two items are bad things that she’s done, they’re completely irrelevant to anything Dropbox might be doing, unless they’ve got some really, really unusual expansion plans.

Also, Dropbox announced that Pearl Jam was becoming an investor in the company. This also prompted a little bit of outrage by Fortune Senior Editor Dan Primack in the “Ya sold out, Eddie!” vein. Read his argument here.

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  • Almanian!||

    Oh, good - more death by association! Count me out.

  • R C Dean||

    So, if Rice stays, does that mean Pearl Jam should be driven from society and ostracized? I'm not super clear on how this guilt by association thing works.

  • anon||

    You're associated with a libertarian leaning site, therefore you're a child raping racist.

    See? It's easy.

  • ||

    So, that's how it works? Ugh...

    And here I thought I was just some old white guy who didn't know anything.

    /SarcOff

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    "role on the board of directors for Chevron"

    Wait, what?

  • Swiss Servator, Frühling?||

    She hath consorted with vile capitalists and thus must be shunned!!!!!!11!11!eleventy!

  • MJGreen||

    Association with Chevron is proof of your evil. Unless we're talking about CA teachers' pensions.

  • Sevo||

    I'll take the 'drop' campaign seriously when they comment on Obo's continuation and expansion of every sorry Bush policy.
    Until then, it's a bunch of lefty hypocrites, as if there were another sort.

  • anon||

    Never trust anybody who uses the words "national conversation."

    Quoted for fucking truth.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    "Pearl Jam"

    Maybe they could play their music nonstop as a form of torture to get the terrorists to talk?

  • The Tone Police||

    From Drop-Dropbox:

    This is not an issue of partisanship.

    Reason #1:

    She helped start the Iraq War

    *facepalm*

    so did many, many other members of Congress you fucking morons.

    Rice was on the Board of Directors at Chevron

    Nope, not partisan in the least *eyeroll*

  • Swiss Servator, Frühling?||

    "Rice was on the Board of Directors at Chevron"

    That seems like a qualification, but then again, I assume Drop Box is running an actual business...

  • Brandon||

    Condi Rice was not a member of Congress.

  • The Tone Police||

    yes, that "other" is misleading. Sorry.

  • ||

    Okay, this is seriously funny though:

    The pairing comes via Dropbox, the cloud-based file-sharing company whose CEO Drew Houston is such a big Pearl Jam fan that he originally named the company Evenflow (Houston also played in a 90's rock coverband called Angry Flannel).
  • Swiss Servator, Frühling?||

    "a 90's rock coverband called Angry Flannel"

    That sounds like a lesbian speedmetal band.

  • PapayaSF||

    Flannel = grunge.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Seattle sound is Hendrix. Hard stop.

  • Swiss Servator, Alt-text FTW||

    But the few angry lesbians I knew tended to have red flannel shirts. Was that some sort of outlier situation?

  • PapayaSF||

    Flannel is associated with lesbians, too.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Condolezza Rice just proves that stupid crooks work in government for the pension; smart crooks work in government to build their rolodex.

  • widget||

    I will invest in the social media bubble just before it bursts. I should start a Twitter (whatever the heck that is) feed so ya'all know just what not to do.

  • Fluffy||

    I think the best reason to oppose Rice being associated with Dropbox is that she notably, and indisputably, lied about the existence of overseas US secret CIA prisons and rendition flights.

    As in she was asked directly if they existed and said No.

    That would mean that if she was asked, as a director of Dropbox, "Does Dropbox let the CIA look through all your files?" and she said No, an observer could reasonably conclude she was lying.

    If I'm running a cloud storage service, I don't want to associate my brand with someone who lies on behalf of the CIA. And maybe there was a good reason, or many good reasons, for her to lie as a Bush administration official. Even if that's the case, the price she pays for that is to be branded a liar now that she's back seeking employment in the private sector.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Hear, hear

  • The Tone Police||

    Finally someone gets it right!

  • Brett L||

    What they purchased her connections and expertise on the matters of concern to make sure that Dropbox would hear if their service was getting hit by FISA, CIA, or NSA action? Am I not allowed to jump to conclusions that might see this as a positive?

  • Loki||

    Drop Dropbox also wants to use Rice's involvement in starting the Iraq War, defense of torture, and role on the board of directors for Chevron as reasons why she shouldn’t serve.

    None of which are relevant in the least. And the last one, serving on the board of Chevron, sounds more like a good qualification to have. Wouldn't Dropbox want people on their board who have, you know, served on boards of successful companies before? Oh right, Chevron's an icky EVUL oil company, and therefore anyone even remotely associated with them should be shunned. I filled up at a Chevron the other day, does that mean I'm no longer welcome in polite society?

    I think you could also make the argument that her status as an insider to the surveillance state might also be useful to Dropbox. If nothing else she may be able to use her connections to get them some sweet cronyist favors tossed their way. SLD: Not that that's a good thing, cronyism sucks, but these are the times we're living in, and I can't completely fault companies from playing the game.

  • flye||

    Exactly. We're worried about privacy and spying implications for our company, what should we do? Hey, let's get someone with NSA/CIA connections on our board! Makes perfectly good business sense.

  • Homple||

    BOOOOOOSSSSSHHHHH! by proxy.

  • Sigivald||

    This makes me want to start using Dropbox.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    So we need to drop NCAA football also? Isn't she one of the people picking Alabama, another SEC team, and grudging letting a couple of other schools into the 4 team playoff?

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    NCAA = universities. We should refuse to deal w/ any college.

  • Rich||

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

    What does *any* of this even mean?

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    It means that if you're a DropBox user, you might want to remove anything incriminating from your account.

  • R C Dean||

    I look forward to helping Dropbox navigate it

    And I'm sure Dropbox is eagerly awaiting his sage counsel.

  • abbey44||

    my roomate's mom makes $79 /hour on the laptop . She has been out of work for five months but last month her paycheck was $19158 just working on the laptop for a few hours. have a peek at this website.........
    http://www.Works23.us

  • abbey44||

    my roomate's mom makes $79 /hour on the laptop . She has been out of work for five months but last month her paycheck was $19158 just working on the laptop for a few hours. have a peek at this website.........
    http://www.Works23.us

  • Mr Whipple||

    Revolving door.

  • WilliamsMaragret||

    my roomate's mom makes $79 /hour on the laptop . She has been out of work for five months but last month her paycheck was $19158 just working on the laptop for a few hours. have a peek at this website.........
    http://www.workbarr.com

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