A week after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg called President Obama to express “frustration over the damage the government is creating for all of our future,” a number of Silicon Valley CEOs met at the White House to discuss “issues of privacy, technology, and intelligence.”
In attendence were Mark Zuckerberg, joined by Reed Hastings of Netflix, Drew Houston of Dropbox, Dr. Alexander Karp of Palantir, Aaron Levie from Box, and Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman.
The White House released only a few details of the meeting, but it’s pretty safe to say the issue of NSA spying likely came up — especially considering the attendance of Deputy Director of the National Security Agency Rick Ledgett.
In the wake of the Edward Snowden leaks, the tech community has reacted with outrage at revelations the government allegedly spied and intruded into companies such as Facebook, Google, and Yahoo.
Most recently, Mark Zuckerberg called President Obama on the issue, labelling the U.S. government as more of a “threat,” rather than a champion for the internet.
The NSA’s general counsel dismissed such criticism recently, testifying at a hearing that tech companies were fully aware of and cooperated with the NSA’s top-secret Prism program to acquire user data.
Here’s the full White House readout:
Today, the President and senior members of his team met with Executives from several leading U.S. tech companies as part of a continuing dialogue with the private sector, civil society, and others on issues surrounding intelligence, technology and privacy. The President used this opportunity to update the CEOs on our progress in implementing the principles and reforms he announced on January 17, including the new Presidential Directive he issued to govern our intelligence activities that will ensure that we take into account our security requirements, but also our alliances; our trade and investment relationships, including the concerns of our companies; and our commitment to privacy and basic liberties.
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 President also updated the CEOs on the comprehensive “big data” review being led by John Podesta, which looks at how “big data” will affect the way we live and work; the relationship between government and citizens; and how the public and private sectors can spur innovation and maximise the opportunities and free flow of this information while minimising the risks to privacy.
The following Executives attended:
· Reed Hastings, Co-Founder & CEO, Netflix
· Drew Houston, Founder & CEO, Dropbox
· Dr. Alexander Karp, Founder & CEO, Palantir
· Aaron Levie, Co-Founder & CEO, Box
· Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman, Google
· Mark Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO, Facebook
From the Administration, the following attended:
· Secretary of Commerce Pritzker
· Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett
· Counselor John Podesta
· Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco
· National Economic Council Director Jeff Zients
· Deputy Director of the National Security Agency Rick Ledgett