Tech execs meet with President Obama to discuss intelligence, technology and privacy concerns

By Nicel Jane Avellana

Mar 22, 2014 10:45 AM EDT

Six executives of some of the biggest Internet firms in the US had a meeting with President Barack Obama on Friday, March 21 to talk about their concerns on how the government collects data, Reuters reported.

In a statement, the White House said the meeting tackled issues about intelligence, technology and privacy. Obama assured those in attendance that his administration is doing everything to reform the system of intelligence collection after furor arose on the government's massive data gathering efforts. The White House said, "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 executives who attended the meeting with the president and his senior aides included Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg, Netflix Inc Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings, Box Chief Executive Officer Aaron Levie, Dropbox Chief Executive Officer Drew Houston and Palantir Technologies Chief Executive Officer Alex Karp, the report said.

Despite the assurances of the White House, Zuckerberg was not content with what the government is doing. Through a spokesperson, Zuckerberg said, "While the U.S. government has taken helpful steps to reform its surveillance practices, these are simply not enough." The spokesperson added, "People around the globe deserve to know that their information is secure and Facebook will keep urging the U.S. government to be more transparent about its practices and more protective of civil liberties."

Beginning in January, President Obama came up with some of the changes, albeit limited, to how the NSA gets data. This included barring the agency from listening to the conversations of the leaders of friendly nations and giving proposals to how the NSA should treat the phone data of Americans. The agency's telephone "metadata" collection program is set for reauthorization on March 28, the report said.

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