The big story out of Silicon Valley on Wednesday was that Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State under President George W. Bush, was joining the board of popular cloud storage company Dropbox.
Tucked away near the end of a Businessweek article on the startup is news of Rice taking a fourth seat on the board:
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.
You know, privacy and the NSA. The same NSA that, as Ars Technica points out, Rice herself authorized to wiretap UN officials and other domestic targets without warrants. She definitely seems like the right person to help craft Dropbox’s privacy policies.
Adding Condi Rice to the Dropbox board might be the most tone-deaf move by a big Silicon Valley company in as long as I can remember.— Ed Bott (@edbott) April 9, 2014
Last year, Twitter sustained numerous months of criticism for its lack of a female board member, and last week, Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich was forced out of his position for his views on marriage equality. But so far, Rice’s appointment has been regarded as little more than a curiosity in most of the tech press (excluding Valleywag). TechCrunch writes that in her time in the Bush Cabinet, Rice made “comments on alleged weapons of mass destruction,” which is a generous way of tiptoeing around what she actually did: present their supposed existence as fact. Later on in the same post, Alex Wilhelm writes, "What’s interesting about bringing Rice onto Dropbox’s board is how normal it feels."
it is sorta funny that we get furious at Twitter for not including a woman but then basically ignore Dropbox including a war criminal— Sam Faulkner Biddle (@samfbiddle) April 9, 2014
Another tidbit of news from Dropbox today is that Pearl Jam will be investing in the company. Yes, the rock band. Over at Fortune, Dan Primack wrote about how “Pearl Jam effectively partnered up with one of the [Iraq] war’s architects.” That’s true, but framing the broad privacy issue as being about a rock band selling out is maybe the worst way to make that point. Just kidding, it’s definitely the worst way—and selfish (actual final line: “well, it makes it a bit harder to remain a fan”).
If you’re uneasy about Dropbox now, there are tons of other cloud storage solutions at your disposal. Google, Microsoft, and Amazon all have their own versions, just to name a few. As always, however, the best way to make a truly secure backup is to put everything on a portable drive, encase it in cement, and bury it deep in the ground where only you can find it, hiding the record of its location within a series of complex riddles and puzzles.
Oh, also, Dropbox released a new mobile app called Carousel today, which is yet another way to put photos on the internet. So forget everything else! New app!