Edward Snowden: Dropbox is 'hostile to privacy'

Edward Snowden: Dropbox is 'hostile to privacy'

Dropbox may be popular, but Snowden is no fan of the file sync service.

Dropbox is a very popular Cloud storage service, but NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is no fan. In a recent interview with The Guardian, Snowden called Dropbox a "targeted, wannabe PRISM partner" that is "very hostile to privacy."

Dropbox was unavailable for comment at this writing.

Snowden also isn't happy about Dropbox's decision in April to add former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice to its Board of Directors. Snowden called Rice "probably the most anti-privacy official you can imagine."

Snowden said Rice was one of several people overseeing the Stellar Wind program. Stellar Wind allowed the NSA to collect some U.S. email records and Internet use for nearly 10 years following the September 11 terrorist attacks. Rice was also a proponent of warrantless wiretapping, a fact which helped inspire a grassroots campaign calling on people to "Drop Dropbox" unless the company removed Rice from its board. Dropbox CEO Drew Houston publicly supported Rice's appointment to the board in an open letter published shortly after the Drop Dropbox campaign began.

As for Snowden, he says cloud companies need to move to a zero-knowledge approach, such as Dropbox competitor and online back-up provider Spider Oak. Zero-knowledge providers encrypt data before it reaches the cloud and leave the encryption key with the user. That means the user is the sole person that can unlock their data since no one else has the key. "That's the only way they [cloud providers] can prove to the customers that they can be trusted with their information," Snowden said.

While that's mostly true, there are situations where your encryption key can be exposed to zero-knowledge providers.

In the case of Spider Oak, for example, using the company's website requires the company to briefly store your password. Nevertheless, SpiderOak is certainly a solid choice for anyone looking for enhanced privacy in their backups and Dropbox-style file sync. Rolling your own cloud storage--without multi-device syncing, alas--is also possible with hardware like WD's My Cloud Mirror.

The Guardian's interview with Snowden comes just as the whistleblower's year-long asylum in Russia is set to expire on July 31. Snowden recently applied to prolong his stay in that country, according to

Follow Us

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags securityprivacydropboxencryptionnsa



Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch

Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch

Introducing the Reseller News Innovation Awards, launched to the channel at the 2018 Judges’ Lunch in Auckland. With more than 70 judges now part of the voting panel, the new-look awards will reflect the changing dynamics of the channel, recognising excellence across customer value and innovation - spanning start-ups, partners, distributors and vendors.

Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch
Kiwi channel debates GDPR as Reseller News Exchange hits Wellington

Kiwi channel debates GDPR as Reseller News Exchange hits Wellington

This exclusive Reseller News Exchange, in association with Arrow ECS ANZ, ForeScout and StorageCraft, went on the road to debate the early implications of GDPR in New Zealand, extracting opportunities while evaluating challenges for the channel in the year ahead.

Kiwi channel debates GDPR as Reseller News Exchange hits Wellington
Show Comments