Top executives from tech companies including Facebook, Google and more are meeting with President Obama today to talk about “issues of privacy, technology, and intelligence,” according to what one White House official tells Politico. The administration declined to provide a list of those attending the meeting.
One notable person in attendance at this meeting is Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who earlier this month called the president to strongly protest revelations about the NSA's surveillance activity related to his social network. Also in attendance is Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, according to another source speaking to Politico. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, who attended the last meeting with Obama and other tech leaders to talk about surveillance in December, was also invited but won't be able to attend because of the short notice given by the White House.
The president is expected to announce the future of the phone metadata program, following up on a promise he made in a January speech, while lawmakers are working on new bills that could refine existing surveillance programs before some of those authorities expire.
Hopefully this meeting will produce some real reforms that significantly curtail the vast surveillance programs put in place by the NSA – both around the world and domestically. When the NSA was founded it was never meant to spy on American citizens; its mission statement was to keep tabs on foreign entities outside the United States…
No doubt the president will be forced to talk about some of the latest revelations about the NSA's spying activities – including reports that it is using malware to infect computer systems abroad. There's also strong indications that tech companies will complain about how the perception that they have been working with the NSA has seriously hurt business abroad.