It’s been almost two years since the cloud storage provider Dropbox appointed former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to its board. A move Edward Snowden, at the time, called “hostile” for data privacy.
Snowden’s comments on the matter first appeared in a video interview conducted by the Guardian, and were published in a July 17, 2014 article:
“Dropbox is a targeted you know wannabe PRISM partner,” he told the Guardian.“They just put … Condoleezza Rice on their board… who is probably the most anti-privacy official you can imagine. She’s one of the ones who oversaw Stellar Wind and thought it was a great idea. So they’re very hostile to privacy.”
PRISM: The NSA’s data collection surveillance program that every citizen should know about.PRISM and Stellar Wind were both approved and implemented during President George W. Bush’s administration. (Image: (c) Adam Hart-Davis)
Dropbox and other popular cloud storage providers hold the encryption keys to hand over to the NSA should a request for your data be approved.
Snowden endorses “zero knowledge” systems. In layman’s terms, this means that cloud storage providers NOT hostile to data privacy don’t just encrypt your data, but actually host your data without their ability to access it – ever. They have zero knowledge of the contents of your data. It’s a big distinction, but one easily missed by a public inundated with confusing doublespeak on data privacy.
Snowden adds “that’s the only way they can prove to the customers that they can be trusted with their information,” and makes specific reference to one cloud company, SpiderOak, as a provider of zero knowledge systems.