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 …

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  1. Herby Silver badge

    Damned if you do..

    ..Damned if you don't.

    Who knows, she may actually KNOW something about security!

    1. JLV Silver badge

      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?

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        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.

      2. Anonymous Coward 101

        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.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          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.

        2. Naughtyhorse

          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

        3. Getriebe

          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

        4. Tom 13

          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.

      3. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

        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.

        1. JLV Silver badge
          Thumb Down

          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?

          1. Naughtyhorse

            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

          2. Anonymous Coward
            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)

          3. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

            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?

            1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

              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".

            2. Tom 13

              @ 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.

              1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

                Re: @ Vladimir Plouzhnikov

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

          4. Anonymous Coward
            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.

      4. Naughtyhorse

        Re: although to be fair...

        I have heard she's a reasonably accomplished pianist.

        for a mass murderer that is

      5. Anonymous Coward
        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?

        1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
          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

          1. Anonymous Coward
            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

          2. Naughtyhorse

            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.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            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.

          4. SumDood

            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

          5. Tom 13

            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.

        2. Getriebe

          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.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            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?

      6. Tom 13

        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.

    2. sisk Silver badge

      Re: Damned if you do..

      Who knows, she may actually KNOW something about security!

      Yeah she does. She knows how to break it.

    3. P. Lee Silver badge

      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.

  2. Charles Manning

    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.

    1. Don Jefe

      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.

    2. TheOtherHobbes

      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!"?

      1. SumDood

        Re: What does she actually bring to the table?

        >Condoleeza Rice

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

    3. Anonymous Coward
      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.

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        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.

    4. JLV Silver badge

      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.

      1. HarryDevlin

        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.

        1. ThePhantomBovine

          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.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What does she actually bring to the table?

      She plays the piano. Badly.

      1. Marvin the Martian

        @ 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?

        1. AbelSoul

          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.

        2. DocJames
          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.

  3. btrower

    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.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    She's a war criminal.

    Scratch Dropbox from my list of service providers.

  5. SisterClamp
    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.

  6. GaryDMN

    Demonization

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

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Demonization

      So the Daily Mail is Marxist then?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Demonization

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

      1. Naughtyhorse

        Re: Demonization

        He didnt get where he is today by finding stuff out about things before making his assumptions man!

    3. Christoph Silver badge

      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.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Demonization

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

      Would you be so kind as to point out to us an example or two of Dr. Marx doing so?

    5. Martin-73 Silver badge

      Re: Demonization

      Yes, she has an opposing view on torture. (she thinks it's okay). I demonize her for that.

    6. SumDood

      Re: Demonization

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

      Not the sort of attack that would be employed against Snowden, of course.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Alternatives

    "Dropbox alternatives" in the search engine of your choice brings up a few articles, with Wuala being mentioned - the rest seem to to have the same potential issues as Dropbox. Claims to do client-side encryption, and be Swiss-based, but is owned by Lacie. Anyone with any views on this?

    My own requirements are met with Owncloud, but perhaps like may ElReggers, other people without the opportunity to run their own are asking opinions on alternatives.

    1. btrower

      Re: Alternatives -- there are none

      Owncloud *is* preferable in the respect that it can be entirely owner controlled. However, the security advisories show that it is not locked down enough to give me confidence.

      http://owncloud.org/about/security/advisories/

      I do not consider myself to be a true security expert, but it has been more than twenty years since I designed and wrote a secure dial access system for a Canadian Bank, including the underlying encryption system. It protected billions of dollars of assets, passed a rigorous test and audit regime and logged thousands of man-years of use without a breach. [For security reasons the Assembler code at the Mainframe host end was coded by production staff using my spec (development people cannot access productions systems, ever)]. Related code written by me is used in all sorts of secure applications across the world. Security concerns are a part of my nearly twenty year old research project on 'data packaging'. For the most part, I at least understand the security advisories...

      [Saying I am not an expert is not false modesty. Security is a very deep subject that even full time people obviously struggle with. Peter Gutmann is a security expert. I am no Peter Gutmann.]

      It is my opinion that to be secure a system must be distributed with multiple independent loci of control such that even the owner doing the encryption cannot access any type of raw storage. No single agency should be able to shut the system down or inspect or influence it in any meaningful way. The very weakest link in such a system should be the originating node beyond which even colluding trustees cannot even determine where data came from or where it is stored, let alone get into the system.

      As of now, even for secure local storage, it looks to me as if a disrespect for entropy requirements renders just about everything vulnerable to attack by a well armed adversary like the NSA.

      Encryption can be made provably secure in theory. In practice security is a probability only and current methods render the probability of remaining secure laughably small.

      People who do not take an active interest in this area can be forgiven for thinking I am wrong. People who *do* take an active interest know that I am right and this is not news to them. Our current systems are essentially vulnerable by design. There are just too many unnecessarily low barriers for this to be accident or incompetence. As I say, I do not consider myself a security expert as such. If I am able to point out multiple long-standing flaws in our systems, you can be assured that true experts know this well.

      Digital security is still security. You would never design a bank vault with a single combination and then trust any single person with the combination. Our current systems are equivalent to allowing the same individual to design the vault, hold all the combinations, have keys to the bank and leaving them alone over a long weekend when you know that the person has a criminal record, specifically for robbing vaults and is part of a crime family that specializes in bank jobs.

      If you do not consider the situation described in the above paragraph secure, then you do not consider any part of the Internet secure because the analogy in the above situation applies in every detail.

      This puts me in mind of an old joke told to me by a coworker at the bank mentioned above:

      How do people in Hollywood say "Fuck You"?

      "Trust Me".

  8. Anonymous Coward 101

    It must be said repeatedly...

    The only way to be certain your files cannot be inspected on Dropbox - or any service like it - is to encrypt your files using something like True Crypt or 7zip. Any service that claims it is 'totally secure' is just lying.

    1. malle-herbert Silver badge

      Re: It must be said repeatedly...

      The only way to be certain your files cannot be inspected on Dropbox - or any

      service like it - is to NOT put them on there in the first place !

      1. Tony Paulazzo

        Re: It must be said repeatedly...

        When I read the last article about this I went online, deleted all my files on Dropbox then deleted the deleted files (the first deletion doesn't actually delete anything), but I didn't close my account - most of those files are also on MS Onedrive and backed up on Google servers too, so the NSA/GCHQ definitely have a copy (I just consider it probably the safest backup storage available on the planet), but it is important to send Dropbox a message.

      2. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: It must be said repeatedly...

        The only way to be certain your files cannot be inspected on Dropbox - or any

        service like it - is to NOT put them on there in the first place !

        Or use a one-time pad encryption, if you do want the option to share files. A one-time pad is fully uncrackable. Getting the key to others by a secure channel is a problem of course.

        If you do not want to share your files, you could stick them in a locked filing cabinet in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying "Beware of the leopard", in a basement, in the dark (the lights had probably gone (So had the stairs)).

  9. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    No need to worry

    She probably can't tell her drop from her box. It must simply be a pay-off for that CIA contract...

    Now, wait a minute - a CIA contract? Er, belay that "no worry" then...

  10. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    WTF?

    Drop box (US based) --> US Laws --> THE PATRIOT Act --> Privacy f**ked

    As for putting her on the board? WTF?

    Drop box may have an idea and people may (I've never used it) like the interface.

    But Trust them? Are you nuts?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Drop box (US based) --> US Laws --> THE PATRIOT Act --> Privacy f**ked

      So they lose the free accounts of a few hundred users - and gain a few hundred phone calls from Condie to heads of US Govt Depts and CEOs of honest right-minded US corporations.

      It's like complaining that Ferrari are annoying vegetarians and appealing only to the rich by hiring Jeremy Clarkson

      1. John Bailey

        Re: Drop box (US based) --> US Laws --> THE PATRIOT Act --> Privacy f**ked

        "So they lose the free accounts of a few hundred users - and gain a few hundred phone calls from Condie to heads of US Govt Depts and CEOs of honest right-minded US corporations."

        Yep.. Cos the whole American spying on everybody with a pulse backlash hasn't impacted cloud companies at all. Right??

        Here is the fire bucket you ordered. Should fit your head quite nicely.

      2. Marvin the Martian

        "Like Ferrari hiring Jeremy Clarkson"

        That's only partly a good comparison --- an Everyman like me isn't close to having a Ferrari, but I did use Dropbox --- but for all that:

        As a Ferrari owner or dealer you BET you'd be incredibly cheesed off if the company would put up such a chavvy figurehead, devalueing your possession/business interest; drop it like a fibreglass stone and get a Maserati (geographically the closest equivalent, since they moved HQ from Bologna to Modena).

  11. sisk Silver badge

    Excuse me. I need to go clean out my Dropbox. They just dropped below Google Drive on my privacy expectation meter. How can you claim to care about privacy when you've got freaking Condoleezza Rice on your board?

    Looks like time to build my own cloud storage box.

  12. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Facepalm

    So many nails in the cloud coffin...

    Yet still they come!

  13. Bradley Hardleigh-Hadderchance
    Windows

    Interesting timing

    Winxp dies. Baam!

    Heartbleed surfaces. Whump!

    Dropbox loses its mind and commits suicide. Guffaw!

    What a week!

    From the school of propaganda that says 'hit them with it quick, do not relent, turn their world upside down, teach them that everything they have ever known is wrong, make them question their most intrinsic, integral beliefs, hit them with it again, till they are reeling from the shock and arguing amongst themselves, even with themselves'.

    Maybe not. Just a thought.

    Still, interesting timing.

    This would not have stood a year or two ago. They are preparing us for insanity.

    I doubt there are any terrorists left now.

    I mean.

    No XP. We all know what cheapskates the bombers are, spending their money on aluminium powder and chippati flour. No cash for OS upgrades. Wide open.

    And for the clever ones using encryption: All your secrets are belong to us! OpenSSL. Right out in the open it would seem.

    And finally, Condy. If you put it in a novel, it would be rejected as too absurd. But this is the reality they have for us now.

    DropBox just got TonyBlaired. They wanted him, but he wasn't available. Condy was the next best alternative. They snapped her up. Third place was either William Hague or Jimmy Carter.

    Good job I don't keep my revolutionary plans on there. Just a few patches, nothing of importance.

    Not that I have any revolutionary plans, of course.

    Disclaimer:

    This post might not make much sense. Almost as if I was winging it and making it up as I went along. Fair cop. I was just trying to get into the spirit of things.

    1. Naughtyhorse

      Re: Interesting timing

      jimmy carter???

      really,

      jimmy carter>

      do you not know the names of any other western politicians or something? was mother theresa double booked or something?

      a nation of probably about 200 million homicidal maniacs and you pick carter?

      now if i read _that_ in a book........

      1. Bradley Hardleigh-Hadderchance

        Re: Interesting timing

        I'm glad you picked up on that.

        He was the red herring.

        Good to see there is some stout life around here yet.

        Give that man a raise.

        It could have been worse.

        I might have said Ronny Raygun.

        Imagine the hilarity that would have ensued after that.

        -----------------

        a nation of probably about 200 million homicidal maniacs and you pick carter?

        ---------------------

        I've got a bit of a mad men moment going on here. You are Don Draper and I am demoted to Pete Campbell.

        I'm sorry Don. Did that offend you?

        :-)

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    internet sheep

    Never question who is herding them or why....

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The good news is, it's so obvious.

    Now, what sort of people would hire Condi Rice? THAT is who runs Dropbox.

    Enough said?

    NO? Okay, I'll spell it out. Firing Condi won't change anything. The folks who hired her will still be there, thinking the same things. Perhaps exercising circumspection, but no less evil.

  16. mkggv

    Dropbox joins Amazon and other tech giants.....

    in an ever growing list of companies you really don't want to trust.

    See:

    http://trustprivacy.ggvasia.com

    What's needed are alternatives to these Tech icons and increased media coverage of their escapades (i.e. more bad PR for them), to get people to switch to something else. A pretty tall order, given that the major news outlets (CNN, etc.) even Hollywood, (that movie last summer portraying Google as a fine upstanding company!), seem to do the opposite.

  17. All names Taken
    Paris Hilton

    Stranger still?

    RT showed pictures from Ukrainian news broadcast about leader of right wing extremist party claimed to have been shot dead while resisting arrest by Ukrainian police. Comment was made about the dead man wearing handcuffs behind his back.

    Here in the UK the death under circumstances of a leader in the move to change political regime in Ukraine was not reported at the time although it was mentioned a few days later on lines of "oh by the way leader of Ukrainian Nationalist party was shot while resisting arrest by Ukrainian police".

    On the other hand on the weekend when Russian forces formally entered Crimea nowt were broadcast about it on RT but western media got into a bit of a frenzy about it.

    Interim conclusion: when such divergence is shown in press and news some serious s*it and influence is being exerted at almost a subliminal level.

    PS: anyone notice that the modern bad guys in US TV series are now Syrian?

    1. Eguro
      Thumb Up

      Re: Stranger still?

      Did you choose your icon based on how your post would make any potential reader feel? If so, good job!

  18. Tony 16

    Condaleeeeeeza..

    1) would not deal with any company with which she was associated as executive or non executive board member

    2) any company which employs her I would regard as having a Board lacking in ethics and integrity to make such a choice, or of course perhaps wanting to use her skills and contacts to further spy on Americans....could even be a CIA or Mossad front

    She, as few know, had the gall to redraw the middle east boundaries to suit the US government and its master, Zionist-khazar Israel and the Central bankers which profiteer from mayhem they create in initiating and financing war and revolutions then benefitting from boudary movements.

    I'd describe her as utterly corrupt and a pathological liar. She is doctrinaire-committed to the New World Order and its Zionist/central banker machinations, in other words she is an enemy of "the people".. those words which differentiate between the ordinary decent people and the lizards ruling them through wealth.

    Rice is committed to the annihilation of Palestine and the total handover to that disgusting fraud known commonly as "Israel" which purports to represent tragedy affected khazars who were not zionists when in fact it was a collaborator with the Reich as were so many major American companies which refused to either stop supplying German military materiel or to increase production for the US war effort (e.g. Standard Oil/GHM) .

    American commitment to take over the 'new order' of the third Reich resulted in operation paperclip and MK Ultra, MK Delta and other disgusting organisms which committed numerous atrocities and designed and spread the drug addiction in USA and world wide whilst pretending to be against it. hundreds of people , unsuspecting, such as scientists, prisoners, and rock stars were given CIA designed drugs and rock stars used to promote drug addiction. John Lennon was one, it seems

    almost certain but there ware many according to reports. ..............Satan rules this earth.

    Israel and America's CIA were partners with Norriega, as Bush was partner with "Osama bin Laden"..Corruption is rife and rampant in the West, commencing largely in USA though Obama clearly despises the pathological liar and genocidalist Mielokowsky known by his fake name "Netenyahu" but has so many industrial and political zionists and central banker Zionists around him that even when realising how he sold his soul to become President, now when seeing the light, he has no power in International relations other than what the Zionists and the Zionist "Committee on Foreign Relations" allow him.Voila

  19. John Tserkezis

    To all my friends who ask why I don't use DropBox.

    NOW you know why. So stop pestering me, especially when I offer a number of different workable options.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What does Dr. Rice know about file storage?

  21. JeffThomas

    Transcript from a future interview.

    Transcript from a future interview.

    Q: Were you aware of a software exploit or attempt to hack dropbox?

    CR: No.

    Q: Did you receive a memo from the Dropbox Security Department?

    CR: Yes

    Q: what was the title of that memo?

    CR: We found a security flaw and hackers are attempting to exploit it.

  22. SlippySlope

    Good on you DropBox...stick with YOUR choice and don't listen to the small time bullies (and I'll keep my very large DropBox account).

  23. Nehmo

    Encrypt We Must

    I use dropbox, the free version. So far, I've never put anything incriminating or sensitive in there. I'll keep my account, but now, knowing Ms. Establishment might be controlling something, I'll pre-encrypt even that stuff. I would never even consider keeping my confessions in the cloud in plain-text.

  24. The Vociferous Time Waster

    This one?

    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-OVnDdqD8Vuk/UADx2PL58qI/AAAAAAAAAHg/JAyY094y_7I/s1600/CondoleezaRiceOilTanker2.jpg

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I quite like Dropbox but... seems you get more for less from the others so can't really see any compelling reason to stay.

  26. Longrod_von_Hugendong
    FAIL

    Nothing is going to change...

    All the TLA agencies will still search all your files...

  27. I am a machine (says Turing test)

    Bye dropbox

    I know it won't make any difference but it is good to delete your account and, when asked why, congratulate them for their new (water)board member.

  28. Shaha Alam

    'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment'

    that would also be true of a brick wall. or a potato.

  29. Neil Hoskins

    Irony

    And they say the Yanks don't do irony. Actually, this is no more stupid / ironic than making Blair a peace envoy to the middle east.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Irony

      They'll make Ian Paisley an ambassador to the Vatican next.

  30. James Boag

    What Idiot puts a war criminal on their board !

  31. Christopher Blackmore
    Big Brother

    Bye Dropbox

    Account closed.

  32. Charles Manning

    "Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment"

    If nothing is going to change then what's the point of having her?

    You only add people to management. board - or even as regular employees - if they are going to somehow add value and change something. People that don't bring something to the table are not worth having.

  33. dshan

    GWB is the Issue

    Forget whether she should have know the Soviet Union was going to collapse, heck, forget even that she thought invading Iraq and Afghanistan was a good idea, and kept defending it long after the truth became obvious to everyone. Forget Gitmo, black sites and torture.

    All you need to remember is that she thought George Bush would make an excellent president! She knew him quite well, and she still thought that! No one who has proven to be so utterly clueless, so totally unable to see the real nature of someone she worked with every day for years, should be on the board of any significant company, let alone one with the aspirations of Dropbox.

  34. jordysmith

    Condoleezza Rice may know something about security, but what does she know about cloud security? Frankly, I think this move is not news simply because she doesn't really bring anything new to Dropbox. The only reason this is news is for the political reasons. A bit silly if you ask me.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google Drive

    And this appointment is EXACTLY why I am leaving behind my 60+GB of Free Dropbox storage and migrating to Google Drive. This way, I at least know who is reading my files...

    (All joking aside, I'm done with Dropbox!)

  36. markkulacz

    Data Condolezzation ?

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