Dropbox recently announced that Condoleezza Rice joined their board of directors. This was very disconcerting and I am normally not one to join the internets outrage. I didn't pick up my pitchfork when it came out the Mozilla CEO apposed gay marriage. (I vehemently disagree with him but it's his choice, it didn't effect the core business he was running.) However I feel that this is different, Ms. Rice is a very smart, capable woman but she should have never even been considered for Dropbox's board of directors because other role with warrant less wire taps. Dropbox stores users personal files and as a result relies on the trust of the users and That trust is seriously diminished now that Ms. Rice is part of the company. I can't believe Dropbox didn't think users wouldn't be outraged that their files were in the hands of someone who pushed for warrantless wiretaps. It doesn't matter if CEO Drew Houston goes to every Dropbox user in person and signs in blood that she will never have any effect on Dropbox's file privacy and security, the users perceived danger is just as bad for Dropbox. It's a tone deaf move but that isn't even the worst part for me, mostly because I assume the U.S. government and the NSA already has all of my data, the worst part is her role in the Iraq war, torture, and the resulting deaths of innocent people all over the Middle East. That I cannot abide. Working with a company that has hired someone who has a part in the deaths of over 188 000 people goes against every part of my ethical beliefs. To summarize:
- She was not only OK with warrantless wiretaps, she authorized them.
- She was involved with the creation of the Bush administrations torture policy.
- She was a proponent of a war that claimed the lives of around 128 000 civilians, a total of 188 000 people including "soldiers."
This Hurts So Much Because Of How Much I Rely On Dropbox
Dropbox is integral to my life, should I just ignore Ms. Rice's appointment just to make my life easier? I don't think I can. I can't ignore my ethics just for convenience. I initially thought of a comparison between her hiring, and NASA's hiring of Nazi scientists to accelerate their rocket development. No I am not calling her a Nazi, they were far worse in many ways. The comparison was to the ethical dilemma the U.S. government had to deal with to advance technology in their country. The thing is Dropbox isn't like those scientists it isn't the only cloud service, there are others I could switch too. The only real benefit they offer is the fact that they are so well connected to apps on iOS, which is something I would need from another cloud service. However I have the discipline to deprive myself of productivity and to make my life slightly harder.
Letter To CEO Drew Houston
The following is the letter I sent to Drew Houston, CEO of Dropbox:
I was a Dropbox evangelist. I paid for a year of 100GB's of storage not because I needed it but because I wanted to pay for a service I thought was great, and to help it grow.
- I got my entire family using it.
- I wrote posts on my site detailing how to use your service better and where I would like to see your company go.
- I didn't even blink when Google offered 10x the storage for the same price as I pay your company.
- I have 50GB free storage with Box but I still used your service.
I recommended you service over and over again online.
I made your service an integral part of my life, entrusting important documents into your care. (Well important to me) That is why the announcement appointing Ms. Rice to your board of directors hurt so much. She is a very capable business woman and in other circumstances I would be excited at her hiring but her support, and authorization, of warrant-less wiretaps destroys any trust I have in your company. I am not one to quickly jump on the internet's outrage bandwagon but appointing Ms. Rice is tone deaf to the general publics concerns over privacy. I also can't ignore her connection to torture and the Iraq War. If she hadn't been appointed I would have been a customer for years but now I am seriously looking at alternatives to your service. I will not be renewing my paid account next year unless she is fired. Her hiring turned me from an evangelist to maybe not even a customer. I love your service but I will no longer be able to use it with her as a part if your company.