24 Mar 2014

Obama Meets Facebook & Google Bosses to Discuss NSA

By Malarie Gokey at TechTimes:

President Barack Obama met with leading tech industry executives once again on Friday to discuss reforming the government's system of Internet surveillance. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took the lead, demanding that the NSA be stopped, one way or the other.

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, Netflix Chief Executive Reed Hastings, Box Chief Executive Aaron Levie and Palantir Technologies Inc. Chief Executive Alexander Karp all attended the meeting.

Obama sought to reassure the country's leading tech executives that the federal government is taking their recommendations seriously and plans to explore ways to improve the program. In January, Obama passed a few reforms, which limited NSA spying on diplomats and other foreign dignitaries, but kept most of the program intact.

The most controversial and intrusive form of surveillance, the collection and storage of metadata from millions of Americans, still exists. Next week, this mass collection of metadata is up for re-authorization. Internet rights activists like Edward Snowden, who exposed the program last year, as well as the majority of tech executives, demand that this part of the program be terminated.

Tech leaders remain doubtful that meaningful reform to NSA surveillance will be passed any time soon. For its part, the White House declared that it will ensure that the program is thoroughly reviewed and reformed.

"The president reiterated his administration's commitment to taking steps that can give people greater confidence that their rights are being protected while preserving important tools that keep us safe," the White House said after the meeting.

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