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Snowden says Dropbox, Condoleezza Rice are Hostile to Privacy

| 18 Jul 2014 17:50

Snowden calls Rice "...the most anti-privacy official you can imagine."

Edward Snowden is not a fan of Dropbox, calling the cloud storage company a "wannabe PRISM partner."

One of Snowden's primary points of ire is the appointment of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to the Dropbox board of directors. "[Dropbox] just put...Condoleezza Rice on their board...who is probably the most anti-privacy official you can imagine," said Snowden in an interview with The Guardian. "[Rice is] one of the ones who oversaw Stellar Wind and thought it was a great idea."

Started in 2001 after the September 11 attacks, Stellar Wind was an NSA program that saw mass quantities of metadata -- including emails -- collected from US citizens. The program was shut down in 2011.

Cloud storage companies like Dropbox weren't the force in the last decade that they are now, and data mining from their servers -- willing or otherwise -- seems to be the next privacy frontier.

But Snowden does see a solution to the cloud problem, even if it's not perfect. "I think what cloud companies need to pursue in order to be truly successful is what's called a 'zero knowledge' system, which means the service providers host and process content on behalf of customers, but they don't actually know what it is."

Snowden then points to SpiderOak as a Dropbox alternative, as the former keeps encryption on the user side instead of having complete control over your data.

While SpiderOak could still be forced to turn data over to the authorities, it would require traditional means (a warrant), and is by and large not open to the same metadata-mining perils as other cloud services.

Dropbox issued a response to Snowden's claims, saying it would "resist" any PRISM-like programs to protect its users.

"Safeguarding our users' information is a top priority at Dropbox. We were not involved in PRISM, and would resist any program of its kind. We've made a commitment in our privacy policy to resist broad government requests, and are fighting to change laws so that fundamental privacy protections are in place for users around the world. To keep our users informed, we also disclose government requests in our Transparency Report."

Source: The Guardian

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