Tech executives to push Obama for NSA limits

Dec. 17, 2013 at 2:00 AM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 17 (UPI) -- U.S. government surveillance will be a key topic when President Obama meets with 15 technology and telecommunications executives Tuesday, the White House said.

The meeting will "address national security and the economic impacts of unauthorized intelligence disclosures," as well as progress with the troubled online federal marketplace,, and ways Washington and the technology industry can work together to boost economic growth, the White House said.

But the tech executives -- including Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook, Yahoo! Inc. CEO Marissa Mayer, Facebook Inc. Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and Google Inc. Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt -- plan to use the 10:45 a.m. White House meeting to press their case for new limits on government surveillance after six months of damaging revelations about extensive domestic and foreign National Security Agency surveillance, an industry official told the Washington Post.

"A number of tech execs look forward to the opportunity to share directly with the president the principles for surveillance reform that they laid out last week and urge him to move aggressively on reform," the official said.

The companies at the meeting are part of a coalition that lashed out at the Obama administration last week for collecting massive amounts of information about Americans.

The companies said in a letter they wanted greater oversight of the government's surveillance operations and new limits on the government's authority to compel companies to disclose data about their customers.

The companies are also lobbying for the right to publish more information about the surveillance requests they receive.

A federal judge ruled Monday the NSA's controversial surveillance program that collects millions of Americans' phone records most likely violates the Constitution.

U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon in Washington described the technology as "almost Orwellian" and said James Madison, instrumental in the drafting the Constitution and the key champion and author of the Bill of Rights, would be "aghast" to learn the government was encroaching on liberty in such a way.

A presidential task force last week gave the White House more than 40 recommendations to overhaul the NSA. White House spokesman Jay Carney said the White House was reviewing the report and would make it public next month.

The technology executives meeting is also expected to discuss "progress made in addressing performance and capacity issues with HealthCare.Gov" and ways the Obama administration "can partner with the tech sector to further grow the economy, create jobs and address issues around income inequality and social mobility," the White House said.

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