Condoleezza Rice has landed the gig of a lifetime on the Board of Directors for cloud storage service Dropbox. This makes the National Security Advisor and former Secretary of State one of the few African Americans (and fewer women) to have a seat at the tech world table. Her addition to the company is expected to help Dropbox expand its services to international markets, like China, and maneuver cultural differences.
Dropbox CEO, Drew Houston, writes:
We’re proud to welcome Dr. Condoleezza Rice to our Board of Directors. When looking to grow our board, we sought out a leader who could help us expand our global footprint. Dr. Rice has had an illustrious career as Provost of Stanford University, board member of companies like Hewlett Packard and Charles Schwab, and former United States Secretary of State. We’re honored to be adding someone as brilliant and accomplished as Dr. Rice to our team.
This is exciting news, however not everyone is happy about the decision. Condi’s political past is catching up with her and many “internet activists” are concerned about her views on government surveillance and privacy. According to reports, “the outcry stems, in large part, from Rice’s support for the National Security Agency’s warrantless wiretapping program during the Bush administration.”
There’s a petition new called DropDropbox, which is urging users to boycott the rising tech startup. “Choosing Condoleezza Rice for Dropbox’s Board is problematic on a number of deeper levels, and invites serious concerns about Drew Houston and the senior leadership at Dropbox’s commitment to freedom, openness, and ethics,” a statement on the site reads. “When a company quite literally has access to all of your data, ethics become more than a fun thought experiment.”
In response to the backlash, Houston issued a statement, affirming the company’s commitment to user privacy, government transparency and surveillance reform.
There’s nothing more important to us than keeping your stuff safe and secure. 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.
We should have been clearer that none of this is going to change with Dr. Rice’s appointment to our Board. 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. As we continue to expand into new countries, 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 to our users.
Other Dropbox promotions include vice president and business development head Sujay Jaswa to chief financial officer and former Motorola Mobility CEO Dennis Woodside to chief operating officer.
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