back to article Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment

File sharing service Dropbox has taken to the internet to defend its ill-timed appointment of Condoleezza Rice to its board of directors. The storage company wrote in a blog post that "there's nothing more important to us than keeping your stuff safe and secure" on Friday after being subjected to a full-throated outcry over its …

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Damned if you do..

..Damned if you don't.

Who knows, she may actually KNOW something about security!

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JLV
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Dropbox drops the ball.

>she may actually KNOW something about security

Hopefully she'll know more about this than about her initial specialization, the USSR.

While @ CIA, she was specialized in Soviet affairs. This is the same CIA which was totally blindsided when the Iron Curtain collapsed in the late 80s due to economic and morale collapse. That was a big ball to drop.

The Soviets were a huge threat and morally repugnant, don't get me wrong. But CIA's assessment of their long term viability past 1985 or so left a lot to be desired. This is, again, the same CIA that gauged East Germany GDP near West Germany's.

Let's not say anything about her Iraq/Afghanistan expertise, shall we?

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Re: Dropbox drops the ball.

Remember the CIA's job is to ensure funding for the CIA.

So you have to keep saying that your current enemies are really dangerous and going to be around for ever - you certainly aren't going to tell your paymasters you expect the USSR to go away in a few years.

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Re: Dropbox drops the ball.

"This is the same CIA which was totally blindsided when the Iron Curtain collapsed in the late 80s due to economic and morale collapse. That was a big ball to drop."

The more I read about the matter, the more satisfied I am that the collapse was down to Gorbachev's reforms that only really kicked in from 1986 or so. It was totally unpredictable even in 1985. There is as much chance of the US crumbling into different states in the next few years, and it is just as predictable.

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Re: Dropbox drops the ball.

"The Soviets were ..... morally repugnant,"

Not any more repugnant than any other state with the ambitions of being a "global power". Forget about it at your peril.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dropbox drops the ball.

> The more I read about the matter, the more satisfied I am that the collapse was down to Gorbachev's reforms

Zeitgeist.

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Re: although to be fair...

I have heard she's a reasonably accomplished pianist.

for a mass murderer that is

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Re: Dropbox drops the ball.

You might not have seen it coming, but the evidence was there from the 1930's!

Oh and just to give you a heads up, the US IS on the latter part of EXACTLY the same trajectory now.

hold on tight the next bit is going to be a bit bumpy

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Re: Damned if you do..

Who knows, she may actually KNOW something about security!

Yeah she does. She knows how to break it.

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JLV
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Re: Dropbox drops the ball.

>Not any more repugnant than any other state

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gulag_Archipelago

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katyn_massacre

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_famine_of_1932%E2%80%9333

I beg to differ. Much as I dislike Condi, Bush and the gang, the USSR was an entirely different beast.

I read Archipelago and it is long, boring, and catalogs in grim details atrocities and an utterly repulsive regime with not a shred of morality. In the early 90s it was not uncommon news to hear of mass graves being found in Russia*. The overall death count attributable to the Soviet regime (minus WW2 combat) is probably quite comparable to Nazi Germany's.

Gorbatchev is one of my personal heroes for having restored Russia to being a normal, honorable, country.

* Nowadays, with Putain (sic) in charge, these inconvenient facts don't make the news anymore. After all, those were the good old day, neh?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dropbox drops the ball.

> Hopefully she'll know more about this than about her initial specialization, the USSR.

+1 to that.

> The Soviets were a huge threat and morally repugnant [ ... ]

Not so sure about this one. Huge threat? To whom, other than the wealth of the Plutocratic Class?

More of a paper tiger, really. Yes, they got to control half of Europe after WWII, but that happened because they were there when the war ended, and they got there on their own, at their own expense.

It's not like the US didn't control the other half of Europe. Nor is it that the West didn't employ economic warfare against the Warsaw Treaty countries. Nor is it that the West shied away from other questionable policies - foreign and domestic - during the Cold War. Or after the USSR collapsed, for that matter.

As to the morally repugnant characterization: is capitalism - especially the type of capitalism in practice today - something to be morally proud of?

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Mushroom

Re: Dropbox drops the ball.

Given a smidgen of a choice anyone would rather live in todays western 'police state' than the old warsaw pact countries

100 000 secret police, with 1 in 6 of the population being informers anyone?

Perhaps you'd like a new phone line so you can call your grandpa whos in west Berlin, either it gets refused outright or approved because the secret police want to listen in and make sure you are not hearing stuff you are not allowed to hear.

Or you'd like your communist paradise to implement the human rights declaration it signed upto in 1977... well your country is communist which means its already perfect so you must be mad.. here have a long hospital stay.

And finally, you want healthcare only to find the leaders have spent all the money on building a "people's palace" for the leader to live in and its 3 times the size of Buckingham palace......

So I'll take my chances on having GCHQ listen in on my mobile and e.mails , because whatever happens, I'm not going to get 9mm revolutionary justice applied to the back of my head for saying the wrong thing

Boris

<old enough to remember the cold war

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dropbox drops the ball.

The first steps to tyranny and dictatorship are small and subtle - it's not you who will be disappeared at 5am in the morning by the American secret police, it will be your children's micro-chipped children who will look back at a time when something could have been done to change things and nothing was because 'dancing with stars in the celebrity jungle' was on the TV.

<young enough to see the signs

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Re: Dropbox drops the ball.

@Anon C 101

I have traveled extensively in the CIs/USSR or whatever starting in 1966 when a schoolboy and I make you right. The changes in attitude of the general population came about very quickly and were very different in different areas. Just as we are seeing in Crimea now, you cannot consider Russia as a homogeneous block.

I was in Berlin for the wall, my chunk comes from Potsdam Platz, and talking to some of Osties they were surprised at the state of affairs and I guess they would not have foreseen that Wednesday in November

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Re: Dropbox drops the ball.

"More of a paper tiger, really. Yes, they got to control half of Europe after WWII, but that happened because they were there when the war ended, and they got there on their own, at their own expense."

I wouldn't have called them a paper tiger. NATO was certainly weary of them during the 70s especially as the tanks they had massed on the Eastern German border could have got to the Channel before the first wave of US paratroops had been sent n from aircraft carried Great Britain. NATO's declared strategy if they had invaded was to use tactical nuclear battlefield weapons (curious phrase)

And the reason they occupied the part of Europe they did was because the Americans waited at the Elbe.

Sources - I was at NATO in the 70s, and my dad was a signals liaison officer with US Army, waiting, on the Elbe.

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Re: Dropbox drops the ball.

I guess it's good news for your version of history that the native americans were not buried in mass graves, and indeed my own - lets not mention cambodia or china or anything.

I read WSJ and it is long, boring, and catalogs in grim details atrocities and an utterly repulsive regime with not a shred of morality.

fixed it for you

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Re: Dropbox drops the ball.

"100 000 secret police, with 1 in 6 of the population being informers anyone?"

You have heard of prism right?

"Perhaps you'd like a new phone line"

under the free market you have a choice! oh no you don't, congress just got bought so now theres 1 telco, well at least iste 'free market' so it will be high quality and cheap! :-)

"Or you'd like your communist paradise to implement the human rights declaration it signed upto in 1977"

The us refuses to acknowledge ANY international treaties. cant have their criminals being brought to book for for simply following (condee amongst others) orders.

"I'm not going to get 9mm revolutionary justice applied to the back of my head for saying the wrong thing"

Are you sure about that? how would we know. you'd just be gone one day with a headline like 'tragic boffin John Kelly was found dead today having shot himself 32 times in the back...'

I see the point of your post, but just felt the examples you picked were.. fucking laughable.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dropbox drops the ball.

> 100 000 secret police, with 1 in 6 of the population being informers anyone?

That was the technology available back then. There's no need to do that these days. Your land-line phone, cell phone, emali, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, are all bugged, intercepted, listened to and copied in triplicate by several governments, and stored forever. Not to mention high-definition street cameras, secret requests for information from your local library by the government about what books you read.

Which creates a whole new different reality: 100 in 100 of the population are informers. Felix Dzjerzinsky would have never dreamt this possible.

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Anonymous Coward

@JLV - Re: Dropbox drops the ball.

That's the difference between the two. Soviets were doing it to their own people while US were doing it to other people (i.e. they tested the Agent Orange spraying it over Canada)

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Re: Dropbox drops the ball.

"Given a smidgen of a choice anyone would rather live in todays western 'police state' than the old warsaw pact countries"

Fair comparison? The spring buds of the former with the autumn (*) fruit of the latter, possibly?

(*) US: fall

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Re: Damned if you do..

> Who knows, she may actually KNOW something about security!

Awww! How quaint!

Appointed for her security expertise and absolutely not because she has friends in high places and know who needs in government and industry needs to be given a free lunch.

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Re: Dropbox drops the ball. @JLV

"the USSR was an entirely different beast."

I am not going to defend any of the atrocities you used as your examples, nor am I going to defend or proclaim the moral superiority of the USSR ideology and/or its social and economic system - that would simply be naive.

However, you should not equate the USSR to Stalin's regime. What happened during the time of that Georgian Robespierre was an aberration, albeit characteristic of any society undergoing rapid revolutionary transition. You can find an equivalent of that in the history of any country (minus the Russian scale - if you want the comparable scale you need to look at China, perhaps).

After Stalin, the USSR has become a completely different society. It may have had its own ideas about civil rights and freedoms, which differed from those in the West, but it certainly had those ideas and ideals. Time has shown that the chosen implementation of these ideas was impractical and impossible and it collapsed on itself due to the inherent flaws in the system - but to consider USSR as some kind of an incarnation of absolute evil and antithetic to the values of the enlightened and benevolent "Western" society is shortsighted and downright stupid.

You should also remember that many of the freedoms enjoyed by the Western population exist either because the Western regimes wanted to highlight the difference between them and the Soviets or because the existence of the USSR was inspiring people in the West to demand such rights and freedoms.

Is it a coincidence that as soon as the USSR ceased to exist and the need to maintain the appearances diminished those same "Western" regimes started to steadily and determinedly clamp down and revoke or dilute those rights and freedoms?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dropbox drops the ball.

Comrade, I wish to point out that the if any tanks were massed (lies, all lies), that would have been on the _western_ border of East Germany, near the eastern borders of West Germany. What was massed on the western borders (of Poland) were Polish and (some) Soviet tanks. Those fearless tankists (tankers? tankmen... tankpersons) were tasked with liberating from the imperialist oppression the working class brothers (and sisters, particularly the sisters) in North(West) Germany, Denmark and northern France, letting their Soviet comrades (never the overlords, nosir!) deal with the not-so-great Britain in their own, world-renowned fashion. Alas! A temporary glitch rendered those plans temporarily un-viable.

That said, times have changed and all we need to do these days is turn the tap one way or the other, and watch which one of you jumps higher. You see, we can go without caviar or potatoes for a year. Or ten years, if our Leader calls for such sacrifice for the greatness of the Motherland. But let the GDP of western "democracies" slip by just 0.5% and your "standard of living" another, and you'll have positively riots, if not uprising on the streets. Who needs tanks, when you have western consumers with warmish radiators and who "can not afford" to re-charge their ipads?

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Re: Dropbox drops the ball. @JLV

Well said, Vladimir. Those who think the Iron Curtain countries were an unending hell really haven't done enough reading. Personally, as a child of the middle of the Cold War, I was always more afraid of Britain's "Allies" on the other side of the Atlantic who came up with the "better [you are] dead than Red" policy, and *would* have implemented it to "save Democracy".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dropbox drops the ball.

The graves and atrocities of the West are often kept off-shore.

The civilian graves in Iraq, Vietnam, Laos etc bear the fruit of Western atrocities as do the torture camps in Cuba.

Moral repugnance is sometimes an hypocrisy of the other side.

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Re: Dropbox drops the ball.

None of the apparatchiks predicted the dissolution of the Soviet Union because they all thought Ronald Reagan was a dunce. The impact that his policies had was not included in the analysis because they didn't think they'd have an impact.

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Re: Dropbox drops the ball.

And here we have a prime example of apparatchik thinking. It wasn't Reagan and his policies with assistance from Maggie Thatcher (including more than one "don't go wobbly on us" call). No, it was Govbachev's reforms. As if those reforms materialized at that point in time for no reason whatsoever. No accounting for the dismal defeat the Russians were having in Afghanistan because of US support to rebels. No accounting for US domestic oil production being up, which knocked down the price of oil internationally. No accounting for Maggie's help with increased oil production in the North Sea. No accounting for the verbal support provided to Lech Walesa. Or the Pope John Paul taking on the evil of the Soviets. No accounting for the reversals of Soviet progress in Grenada, Nicaragua, or Hondorus. No accounting for Star Wars which even as a trial balloon caused the Soviets to have to up their missile production and break their budget because they couldn't take the chance we COULD build the shield.

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Re: old enough to remember the cold war

Too few of us are. And at that at least of 1/3 of us who are old enough thought the Russians were the good guys.

Worst part is, in some ways the world was safer under the Cold War. Back then everybody knew in their bones we had enough fire power on hair trigger to blow the planet into asteroids. These days even though the reality that we still can hasn't changed, everybody thinks it's hunky-dory because the Cold War is over. So it will come as a completely unexpected surprise when we do.

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@ Vladimir Plouzhnikov

I get it. You have to defend the homeland.

Utter bollocks. Stalin was Russia right up through Gorbachev. The names changed, the tactics never did. The truth is, the Russians killed more people than Hitler ever did, even when you include the war tallies in Hitler's toll.

As for rights, in West they have a long, long lineage, not just some 70 year timeline. As a proud American, I trace the history of my rights back to the Magna Carta of 1215. Yes, I think our US Constitution of 1783 improved on that document quite a bit, but I recognize and salute the Magna Carta as the post dark ages document that got the ball rolling. In fact, I'm one of those people who doesn't actually call it the American Revolution which is part of the socialist propaganda we're taught these days. I prefer the War of Independence, which is what our founders called it. Because from my perspective we weren't fighting so much for something new as something we thought we already had as Englishmen. And the additional protections placed in the US Constitution were corrections and amplifications to the rights we had via the Magna Carta and it's ensuing improvements.

No the change didn't happen instantly. There was a brief period of celebration. But what was forgotten was that while you Soviets were working to take us down from the inside, the real threat was already here on the inside. Fifth columnists infiltrating our government, our film, our media, and our schools. Churning out the same crap you are here. Preparing the way for The 0ne who would finally strike the final blow for the socialist workers utopia. With a bit of help from Iran and Iraq and some nutcases from Afghanistan, it's what we got. And yes, after 70+ years of war our people are tired. And too many are willing to take your offer of peace at any price rather than continue that fight the way it should be continued: by knocking the snot out of jackalopes like you whenever we need to in order to set the record straight.

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Re: @ Vladimir Plouzhnikov

Er, Tom? Easy on that bourbon, mate...

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What does she actually bring to the table?

Sure, the press release throws out some buzzwords, but how can a war mongering security czar really help the company?

That she was National Security Adviser for 5 years - the initials and functional overlap with National Security Agency being clear - cannot be a bright PR move.

This must surely be an epic own-goal - worse than the whole Eich Prop 8 fiasco.

I am very much a Drop box freetard fan... will have to investigate alternatives.

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Re: What does she actually bring to the table?

You'll never see a US Cabinet level appointee that isn't attached to a major investment group or big time commercial financier. Never. Regardless of their Presidents political affiliations. It rarely makes big news, but they were attached to the money people before they got the appointment, and they're still attached afterward.

It's even encouraged, for the same reason Chairs of Congressional Committees are always close to the industries they represent. So they'll have a better understanding of the issues and the players in the field you know. It's crap, but it has been that way since Washington, I don't expect big change anytime soon.

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Re: What does she actually bring to the table?

>Sure, the press release throws out some buzzwords, but how can a war mongering security czar really help the company?

...is the wrong question.

The correct question is 'How has the company been helping a war-mongering security czar?'

Who thinks there was board meeting and someone said for no reason "I know! This company really needs Condoleeza Rice!"?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What does she actually bring to the table?

> will have to investigate alternatives.

ownCloud. Made in Germany. Hosted wherever you want it to be.

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JLV
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Re: What does she actually bring to the table?

>worse than the whole Eich fiasco.

Upvoted you, but those fails are very different in nature, even if both companies will suffer from it.

First Eich had the credentials to have a major role in Mozilla and could have brought a lot to the table. I do not agree with his views on gay marriage in the least bit. But I respect his right to his _private_ opinions and political stance, as a private citizen. Not to mention that public perception has changed a lot wrt to gay marriage in the last 5 years so he might even be more tolerant nowadays.

The whole sorry Eich/Mozilla affair has more than a little whiff of witch hunt to it.

Second, his views were not well-known when they hired him. Trawling campaign contributions will now become a more popular activity is my guess :( but Mozilla was probably blindsided.

Condi's controversial background was very much on the public record. The only real credentials she does have are ones Dropbox desperately does not need to be associated with.

Where I agree, and what is so funny with the Eich parallel is how, less than a month later, Dropbox hasn't seen it coming.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What does she actually bring to the table?

She plays the piano. Badly.

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@ Q:"What does she bring to the table?" A:"Playing the piano. Badly."

This implies you use the grand piano as a table. You, sir, are a barbarian.

What's going on? First Eich at Mozilla (at least he made himself scarce before I looked up what the equivalent Chrome plugins are to AdBlockPlus and NoScript, saving me some work migrating). Now a 'Security Czar' at the least privacy/security minded company in the world (they give their employees no-questions-asked plaintext access to your files (e.g. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/05/16/dropbox_ftc_not_good_enough/ ).

What's next, Al Gore as product chief for Apple's Keynote (after getting the Nobel Powerpoint Prize, geddit)? Tony Blair peddling mediation and conflict avoidance? Tell me, who's next?

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Re: What does she actually bring to the table?

>Condoleeza Rice

Still looking for a recipe. Still haven't found one.

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Re: What does she actually bring to the table?

Rice has been marketed as a super-brilliant intellectual who graduated from high school at 16 and who is a concert pianist. That's her branding and a lot of money and effort is spent in promoting her brand.

Someone as young and inexperienced as Drew Houston could easily fall for the hype without understanding just exactly how much Rice is despised by most Americans in general and the tech community in particular. It probably never crossed his mind that this appointment would be so widely condemned because he had no knowledge about her horrible past. Or maybe he's a right-wing Republican Tea-Partier and really did know about her past. But even a Tea-Partier would be aghast at how Rice violated her constitutional oath of office since they are always talking about the constitution.

Someone else wrote "Bush, Cheney, Rice and Rumsfeld as the moral equivalent of Hitler, Goering, Goebels and Himmler." That isn't so off the mark. The Nazis invaded Poland by lying about Poland's actions, and the U.S. did the same in Iraq and Rice had a big role in this.

The important thing is for Dropbox to correct this mistake as soon as possible. It's been going on for too many days already.

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Re: @ Q:"What does she bring to the table?" A:"Playing the piano. Badly."

Tony Blair peddling mediation and conflict avoidance? Tell me, who's next?

That one has already happened.

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Unhappy

Re: @ Q:"What does she bring to the table?" A:"Playing the piano. Badly."

Depressingly, Tony Blair's job after Downing St is international peace envoy to the Middle East. Seriously. Apparently nobody was able to point out the irony.

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Re: What does she actually bring to the table? @OwnCloud AC

Thanks for that, AC - I'll be out of Dropbox and into OwnCloud just as quckly as I can transfer my data.

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Re: What does she actually bring to the table?

"The important thing is for Dropbox to correct this mistake as soon as possible. It's been going on for too many days already."

Not really, as the individual/s that appointed her clearly had no moral or ethical objections to her previous actions. If she were to go, then those individuals remain. Doesn't her appointment to the position give a bit of a strong hint as to the values of those running DropBox?

TortureBox just got dropped.

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Like a sick joke

The best you can hope for is that this move is incompetent. There is no way to rationalize this move. I don't have anything of value on Dropbox but if I did I would be moving it pronto.

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Anonymous Coward

She's a war criminal.

Scratch Dropbox from my list of service providers.

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Big Brother

C'mon...

...you only had to peruse the IT news for the past few years to know that Dropbox plays nice with government intelligence. The entry below is from 2011, for chrissakes:

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/igeneration/dropbox-deceived-users-over-security-files-are-open-to-government-searches/9959

Rice joining doesn't do anything for a service I wouldn't trust in the first place.

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Demonization

Yet another typical Marxist attack. Demonize anyone with an opposing view.

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Re: Demonization

So the Daily Mail is Marxist then?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Demonization

Mmm. I think it may be worth while finding out about what Marxism really is, before making your assumptions.

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Re: Demonization

I remember her making a speech while on an official visit to Europe, defending the US against claims that they were torturing people.

It was so ludicrously and blatantly weasel-worded that it effectively amounted to an outright admission that they were doing exactly that.

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