NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has been anything but subtle about his aversion toward Dropbox. Now the storage service’s CEO had a few words to say in reply.
Snowden has repeatedly told consumers that if they want to protect their privacy, they ought to avoid Dropbox which he has called a “targeted, wannabe PRISM partner” that is “very hostile to privacy.” Snowden recommended a competitor called SpiderOak.
On Wednesday, Dropbox CEO Drew Houston used his platform at the Dublin Web Summit to indirectly respond to Snowden’s remarks, emphasizing a priority on user experience.
“If you offer zero knowledge encryption we understand the motivation for that, but there are downsides to it,” he said. “Third-party tools are offered to do that, but of course that [affects making] all my stuff searchable and indexed and rendered well in previews. People have different tradeoffs.”
In other words, Dropbox offers limited privacy in exchange for seamless integration between desktop and mobile versions, Dropbox and third party apps, and other features.
When asked at the summit whether or not Snowden’s remarks had affected Dropbox usage, Houston noted that 1.2 billion users continue to use the service.
“It’s never fun when people throw rocks,” he says. “But how many [negative] articles were there about Facebook and Zuck? There are a lot of happy things but we go from the company who can do no wrong to the one who can do no right…. You are never quite as good as people say you are but also never quite as bad.”