Tech Titans Meet Obama To Urge NSA Surveillance Reform

A host of executives from major Internet firms, including Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft, met with President Obama yesterday, urging action on mass surveillance, as revealed by the Edward Snowden leaks.

All have been affected in some way by the revelations of the National Security Agency’s actions, whether they disclosed alleged hacking of data links between Google and Yahoo, or the PRISM project to acquire information from their servers.

Obama meeting

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Apple chief Tim Cook, and Google chairman Eric Schmidt were all in attendance, calling on the Obama regime to more aggressively pursue changes to laws granting the NSA vast powers to infringe on people’s privacy.

“We appreciated the opportunity to share directly with the president our principles on government surveillance that we released last week and we urge him to move aggressively on reform,” a joint statement from the representatives sent to media read.

The meeting came after an open letter signed by Internet giants called for a host of changes to stop the NSA hoovering up data, whilst asking to be allowed wider access to information.

The White House was keen to note that it wasn’t just surveillance that was up for discussion. They also talked about the disastrous health care insurance website. And yet surveillance was the headline topic.

“The group discussed the national security and economic impacts of unauthorized intelligence disclosures.  This was an opportunity for the President to hear from CEOs directly as we near completion of our review of signals intelligence programs, building on the feedback we’ve received from the private sector in recent weeks and months,” a statement from the website read.

“The President made clear his belief in an open, free, and innovative internet and listened to the group’s concerns and recommendations, and made clear that we will consider their input as well as the input of other outside stakeholders as we finalize our review of signals intelligence programs.”

A US judge declared earlier this week that the NSA’s scooping up of telephone metadata and records was unconstitutional.

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Thomas Brewster

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

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