- Marco Rubio: U.S. at social, moral crossroads
- ‘We’re coming for you, Barack Obama’: Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL
- White flags baffle NYPD: ‘We’re lucky it wasn’t a bomb’
- N.Y. Gov. Cuomo’s office interfered with, pressured corruption commission: report
- Brit lawmaker: I would fire on Israel if I lived in Gaza
- VA apologizes to forgotten Marine veteran locked in Fla. clinic, forced to call 911
- U.S. social and economic trends on worrisome track, survey finds
- McDonald nomination unanimously referred to full Senate
- Chuck Norris honorary chairman of NRA voter registration campaign
- GOP outraged Obamacare investigators able to get coverage with fake IDs
Obama reassures Internet CEOs on tech privacy
Question of the Day
WASHINGTON (AP) - A week before a self-imposed deadline for a review of National Security Agency programs, President Barack Obama sought Friday to assure leading Internet and tech executives that his administration is committed to protecting people’s privacy.
CEOs from Facebook, Google, Netflix and others spent more than two hours with Obama in the Oval Office discussing their concerns about NSA spying programs, which have drawn outrage from tech companies whose data have been scooped up by the government. Joining Obama and the CEOs were Obama’s commerce secretary, homeland security adviser, and counselor John Podesta, whom Obama has tasked with leading a review of privacy and “big data.”
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his colleagues departed the White House without speaking to reporters. The White House said Obama gave the CEOs an update on the big data review, which is examining the complex and evolving relationship between the government, its citizens and their private information.
“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 White House said in a statement.
Separate from the big data review, Obama in January directed the government to develop and present alternatives for who should store the phone records from hundreds of millions of Americans that the NSA holds. Obama gave the Justice Department until March 28 to report back, with an eye toward eventually stripping the massive data collection from the government’s hands.
That review and other limits on secret spying were prompted by disclosures from former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden that enraged Internet companies like Google when it was alleged that the NSA had secretly tapped into the main communications links that connect Yahoo and Google data centers around the world.
In the lead-up to Friday’s meeting, Zuckerberg took to his own Facebook page to strongly condemn Obama’s administration for its secret spying tactics, following reports that the NSA had once used spoofs of the social network to infect computers with malware.
Facebook said Zuckerberg raised his concerns directly to Obama on Friday and was grateful for his personal engagement. In a statement, the company called it an “honest talk” about government intrusion and its toll on people’s confidence that the Internet is free and open.
“While the U.S. government has taken helpful steps to reform its surveillance practices, these are simply not enough,” said Facebook spokeswoman Jodi Seth.
Google recently enhanced the encryption technology for its flagship email service to make it harder for the NSA to intercept messages moving among the company’s data centers. Yahoo has promised similar steps.
Associated Press writer Marcy Gordon contributed to this report.
Reach Josh Lederman on Twitter at http://twitter.com/joshledermanAP
TWT Video Picks
By Andrew P. Napolitano
Perhaps we're not as free as we think
- CARSON: Costco and the perils of mixing politics and business
- House task force to recommend National Guard on border, faster deportations
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- Tom Petty: 'No one's got Christ more wrong than the Christians'
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- Netanyahu's Wikipedia page replaced with giant Palestinian flag
- Beretta moving to Tennessee over Maryland gun laws
- HURT: The cost of 'free' water in Detroit
- DEACE: How to go from civil rights icon to bigot in one quote
- Latest Obama claim: I don't learn anything from the news
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq