Executives from the world’s biggest technology companies including Google, Apple and Twitter have met with President Obama and called on the US to “move aggressively” to reform the National Security Agency’s (NSA) controversial surveillance operations.
The heads of 15 companies attended a two-hour meeting with Mr Obama and his vice-president Joe Biden in which they are understood to have to expressed concern that the NSA’s wide-ranging surveillance activities had undermined the trust of their users.
“This was an opportunity for the President to hear from CEOs directly as we near completion of our review of signals intelligence programs, building on the feedback we’ve received from the private sector in recent weeks and months,” the White House said in a statement. “The President made clear his belief in an open, free, and innovative internet and listened to the group’s concerns and recommendations, and made clear that we will consider their input as well as the input of other outside stakeholders as we finalise our review of signals intelligence programs.”
Those present at the meeting included newly appointed Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook, Marissa Mayer, the chief executive of Yahoo, and Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman. Senior representatives from Comcast, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and Netflix were also present. The move came a day after a federal judge ruled that the bulk collection of Americans’ phone records by the NSA most likely ran counter to the US constitution and labelled the technology “Orwellian”.