Saturday, April 12, 2014

Global Impact: Freedom in the US is No Longer What it Once Was, Political Vendettas is Now the Norm

According to The Christian Science Monitor, when Dropbox CEO Drew Houston announced on Wednesday (April 9) that the company had appointed former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to its board of directors, he might have expected some skepticism.

Calling Dr. Rice “brilliant” and her career “illustrious,” Mr. Houston seemed to have prepared for a bit of consternation over Rice's appointment, saying that she was an ideal candidate to help shepherd an expansion of the Cloud storage platform's “global footprint.”

Rice is now a professor at Stanford, a respected university which hardly embodies conservative principles, where she had worked prior to her her being tapped for NSC and US Secretary of State in Washington. Additionally, she also serves as a consultant to several high-tech firms.

COMMENT: By Friday (April 11), an accomplished woman who served ably as a member of George W. Bush's Cabinet, had seemingly been rejected by the LEFT.

On a new website called "Drop Drop-Box," impassioned critics of Rice's appointment alleged that Rice’s record of support for positions to which Silicon Valley is largely opposed to suggests that Dropbox is not serious about its claim to resist online government surveillance.

"Drop Dropbox" faults a number of Rice’s past activities in the Bush Administration, including her role in planning the Iraq War, her alleged support for the use of torture in interrogating al-Qaeda suspects and government wiretapping without a warrant.

Rice’s appointment “invites serious concerns about Drew Houston and the senior leadership at Dropbox's commitment to freedom, openness, and ethics,” reads the website. “When a company quite literally has access to all of your data, ethics become more than a fun thought experiment."

It was not clear on Friday who was behind Drop Dropbox, since the site is hosted on a domain whose proxy is concealed, according to TechCrunch.

A link to Drop Dropbox, which encourages users to stop using the service, is the most-clicked-on posting on HACKER NEWS.

A separate website hosted at http://www.causes.com includes a petition to boycott Dropbox and had amassed more than 6,000 signatures by Friday afternoon.

Almost all the comments on the original posting about Rice’s appointment, among other announcements about new Dropbox features, were about Rice, with comments divided on whether she was an asset or liability to Dropbox.

To what extent "Drop Drobox" will have on the company, which has been an innovator in storage on the Cloud, with more than 275 million users. 

Silicon Valley has largely been opposed to online government surveillance and technology companies have been at pains to reassure the public that their data will be secure with them. 

In March 2014, Dropbox released a formal list of its principles on government data requests, including a promise to fight blanket government requests for its information and a commitment to publicizing the number of such requests it receives.

Consumers have no shortage of options for where to put their data if one platform falls short on such pledges, including Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive. Those alternatives, among others, are listed on the website Drop Dropbox.

Last week, Mozilla bowed to pressure to fire its new CEO Brendan Eich over financial contributions to an anti-gay marriage ballot initiative in California in 2008.

Dropbox has not as yet made a public statement on the calls to drop Rice.

I must admit that I slept on this issue for a couple of days before offering an analysis.

What tragically seems to be happening across the US, is that President Barack Obama, throughout his tenure, strangely began to choose what laws he would enforce and those that he would simply ignore, including the Affordable Care Act, which is not of late very affordable.

I was watching national news this week and listened very carefully to the words of Vice President Joe Biden who said:

Vice President Joe Biden, while making a precampaign speech to the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s 2014 Legislative Summit, told the audience that the "supposedly 11 million illegal aliens in this country are already US citizens in my view," Mr. Biden was quoted as saying.

Biden's statement, seems to be telling all native-born and naturalized US citizens and those with a valid Green Card that their legal status doesn't matter.

US presidents were previously known for faithfully executing their oaths of office. This foundation seems to have become passé.

I am also beginning to think that the grave personal risks that I took as a Marine veteran and during my two-decade career as a federal agent in the US Department of State...really don't matter.

One of the foundations of American culture is that all people are endowed with the Bill of Rights which enables them to express their thoughts without retribution or adverse action that jeopardizes their ability to be gainfully employed.

The plight of hard-working, dedicated folks in the US such as Brendan Eich, Condoleezza Rice or...even, God forbid, you!

It is a very sad day that one's ideology and political correctness reins in the US. What a pity!