Dr. Rice simmers as the Web boils.
Dropbox is making Condoleezza Rice a director on its board. Predictably, the technorati are up in arms over the appointment.
Why? Well, the GWB-era secretary of state is... umm... let's just say she's a "controversial" figure, OK?
In IT Blogwatch, bloggers consider waging holy war against Dropbox. [You're fired -Ed.]
Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.
Shira Ovide and Douglas MacMillan flip the digits (in a way that's consistent with the politics of their Australian-born employer):
The file-sharing startup Wednesday added former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as a [board] director to “help us expand our global footprint.” [But] an Internet protest sprang up to encourage...users to boycott the service.
…The flap is the latest example of blowback when the technology community’s libertarian, progressive image of itself comes into conflict with individual views or corporate efforts to build bridges to those with other views. MORE
But Mark Frauenfelder makes a principled stand:
I loved Dropbox and Mailbox. I was paying for [it]. But after learning that Iraq war starter, torture promotor, and warrantless wiretapper Condoleezza Rice will be joining Dropbox's Board of Directors I deleted my account.
…I lost about $100. They can keep it. MORE
So Jasper Hamill dubs her "Spy-happy":
Condi is a well-known supporter of wiretapping, surveillance and waterboarding, so it was slightly surprising to see her claim she intended to beef up the privacy credentials of Dropbox.
…One voice you might not be hearing in this debate is Eddie Veder, lead singer of Pearl Jam and a longstanding critic of the Bush-era government. His band [just] invested in Dropbox. MORE
UPDATE: Dropbox CEO Drew Houston is unapologetic (at least, about the appointment):
There’s nothing more important to us than keeping your stuff safe and secure. ... We should have been clearer that none of this is going to change with Dr. Rice’s appointment. ... Our commitment to your rights and your privacy is at the heart of every decision we make, and this will continue.
...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. ... 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. MORE
Justifying his opposition, Jan Jirout outlines why this is big deal:
Starting an unnecessary war is a big deal. Denying due process and torturing detainees is a big deal. The Patriot Act was one of the most un-American acts of Congress. Rice had a significant role in destroying the values I once thought were vitally important in claiming American exceptionalism. We can never get that back.
…We will never be the country we once were before Rice and the Bush administration. ... I will continue to oppose the people who led these efforts and oppose anything they are involved with, staying true to my own personal values requires this. MORE
Meanwhile, Mike Masnick says it's "Incredibly tone deaf":
When she was Secretary of State, she defended the warrantless wiretapping program by saying [Bush authorized the NSA] "to collect information on a limited number of people with connections to al Qaeda." [But] the definitions...of "limited" and "connections to al Qaeda"...are not the same definitions most English speakers would use.
…As for Dropbox, there have certainly been quite a few concerns about how private your data is on the site. ... Drew Houston, spoke out against the NSA's efforts...back in January, and the company recently changed its privacy policies to address concerns [and has] taken a strong stand saying that it will protect users' data against blanket government requests and backdoors. ... But to then appoint Rice to the board, and have her handling "privacy" issues basically blasts a major hole in that.
…This move does come across as exceptionally tone deaf. [It] seems like a huge public relations disaster. ... It's hard not to believe that there would be others with less baggage who could handle the job just as well. MORE
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