Tech chiefs meet with Obama on privacy
August 9th, 2013
12:50 PM ET
1 year ago

Tech chiefs meet with Obama on privacy

(CNN) – Bosses of major technology firms met with President Barack Obama Thursday alongside civil liberties advocates to discuss privacy, part of an ongoing series of talks the White House is holding after the disclosure of government surveillance programs that monitor Americans' phone and internet activity.

Web pioneer Vint Cerf, currently an executive at Google, attended the White House event, a person familiar with the meeting said, as did Apple CEO Tim Cook, according to Politico, which first reported the gathering of tech chiefs. Also present was Gigi Sohn, the president of digital rights advocacy group Public Knowledge.

The group met behind closed doors; the meeting did not appear on the president's public schedule and was not publicly announced by the White House afterwards.

Officials said it was part of a larger push by the White House to meet with stakeholders in the privacy debate following revelations this summer about government surveillance programs. A separate meeting on Tuesday, convened in the White House Roosevelt Room, was led by chief of staff Denis McDonough and White House counsel Kathy Ruemmler.

That event included the president of the Information Technology Industry Council and the Electronic Privacy Information Center, while companies like Google and Facebook were represented by trade groups. The American Civil Liberties Union was also present at Tuesday's meeting.

Obama also met with top lawmakers on the House and Senate intelligence committees on August 1.

Critics of the government snooping have said the programs represent a vast overreach of federal authority, and have blasted the Obama administration and some lawmakers for allowing them to continue.

CNN's Kevin Bohn and Jessica Yellin, and CNNMoney's Laurie Segall, Susannah Lee and Stephanie Genkin contributed to this report.


Filed under: NSA • President Obama
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Gurgyl

    -–to hire more Foreigners for lower wage to cheat on immigration, dump more India people, did you go to NJ and see how filthy it is? Pathetic. Tighten immigration system, these techies are coming to rob our benefits, simple truth. Enough. Be it IT or doctors–do nor let them rape our system.

    August 9, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  2. Wake up People!

    Fox-lite is on a roll today!!!

    August 9, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    I don't think the avereage person has a clue as to what "metadata" actually is. Metadata is data that describes the actual data, but it does so in such a way that the actual data is not disclosed. So, just what exactly does that mean?

    Metadata is used to describe how information, the actual data, needs to be stored. A social security number would need to have nine discrete digits that can be stored and retrieved. Metadata describes what the actual data might look like. In the case of a social security number, metadata could describe a social security number this way; ### - ## - ####.

    Collecting metadata from the internet, the data highway, is similar to a highway patrol cop might do. He watches motorists pass him by. If he wanted he could count the number of red cars or blue cars. He could count the number of cars compared to the number of SUVs or tractor trailers. He could make a variety of observations, but none of them can report about the inside of the passing vehicles to describe their contents.

    Sometimes the metadata turns up unusual patterns, or the metadata doesn't fit within set of parameters considered to be normal. In the case of the highway patrol cop, someone speeding would be outside of the normal driving speed, and so he would react to it. That's how it works in a nutshell.

    August 9, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  4. Rick McDaniel

    That's another dog and pony show, for the media........which will end as soon as the meeting ends.

    August 9, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  5. Necronn99

    They continue so will we.

    August 9, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  6. Dave in Arizona

    Hey Republicans, look! He's leading!

    Not that I'd expect anything close to an admission of that...

    August 9, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |