President Barack Obama will meet with tech CEOs on Friday to discuss privacy concerns that have mushroomed within the industry after a spate of revelations about the NSA’s massive domestic surveillance programs.
Obama hopes to “continue his dialogue” with the leaders of some of the biggest tech companies “on the issues of privacy, technology, and intelligence,” a White House official told Politico. The White House did not release a full list of the tech leaders on Obama’s schedule, but the heads of Google, Facebook and Yahoo were extended invitations. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will be part of the huddle, but Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, who previously met with Obama in December, will not be able to make the trip.
Zuckerberg has been particularly vocal in his criticism of government surveillance. “The US government should be the champion for the internet, not a threat,” he wrote on his Facebook page on March 13. “They need to be much more transparent about what they’re doing, or otherwise people will believe the worst.” Zuckerberg said that he called Obama to voice his frustration. “Unfortunately, it seems like it will take a very long time for true full reform,” he wrote.
Obama’s meeting with tech leaders comes as the Administration is weighing how to reform programs that sparked an uproar when they were revealed by leaker and former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Obama is expected to announce reforms soon to a program that gathers so-called metadata on Americans’ phone records, and Congress is working on several bills that could refine existing surveillance programs.