With the news just over a week ago that Mozilla’s CEO Brendan Eich was stepping down due to mounting public pressure over his monetary contribution in 2008 towards a gay marriage ban, the internet hate machine now sets its sights on Dropbox for their most recent announcement of a new member joining the board of directors - former United States Secretary of State and National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice.
A petition against Rice’s appointment called “Drop Dropbox” has already been drawn up and outlines the reasons why some people think this is a bad idea. This time, I might actually agree with them.
It began with Dropbox CEO Drew Houston’s welcome to Rice through a notice posted on their corporate blog. In his notice to the public, Houston also welcomed some other new changes inside the company and finished off with welcoming Rice to the board.
“When looking to grow our board, we sought out a leader who could help us expand our global footprint,” wrote Houston. “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.”
The Drop Dropbox petition starts out with a warning that their reason for the petition isn’t because Rice isn’t qualified or experienced enough for the position – on the contrary, she is well-equipped for almost any position that requires oversight of sensitive topics and projects, being a former security advisor to the president and all. The views taken by the petition are a little more serious than that.
“This is not an issue of partisanship. It makes sense that Dropbox would want an accomplished, high-level, well-connected individual on their Board of Directors as they prepare for their IPO. There is no doubt that Condoleezza Rice is an extremely brilliant and accomplished individual, having obtained her Masters degree at only age 20.”
“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. When a company quite literally has access to all of your data, ethics become more than a fun thought experiment.”
The petition later outlines the specific reasons for not wanting Rice inside any company that doesn’t place security of user data as their main endeavour. Rice, among others who worked for the Bush administration, would have been responsible for a number of injustices the least of which was the false proclamation that Al-Qaeda, lead by Osama Bin Laden, was in possession of weapons of mass destruction and had to be annihilated through the invasion of Iraq by American and allied forces. The petition’s reasons for wanting Dropbox to remove Rice from their board of directors follows below:
1) That Rice helped start the war in Iraq and spoke publicly in support of it multiple times, ultimately resulting in the deaths of over 120, 000 civilians.
2) That she oversaw the creation of torture programs used to extract information from Al-Qaeda prisoners.
3) That Rice supported and enacted several wiretaps without warrant and knew intimately the details of the NSA’s PRISM program to monitor all local and international internet communications.
4) That before signing on to the Bush administration Rice served on the board of directors of Chevron, a multinational energy company that is guilty of several human rights violations, flouting environmental regulations, found guilty of massively polluting Lago Agrio, Ecuador in 1993 as well as creating an oil spills in Angola (2002) and Brazil (2011) as well as sparking protests against the company which resulted in the deaths of two protestors in Niger Delta, Nigeria in 1998.
Neither Dropbox nor Rice have made any statements following the creation of the petition.