President Obama will meet a select group of tech CEOs on Friday afternoon to discuss the NSA surveillance, a White House official told Politico. The White House official didn’t disclose the list of chief executives invited to the meeting. But industry sources told Politico that Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) CEO Larry Page and Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) CEO Marissa Mayer have been invited.
Will Obama reform surveillance programs?
It’s the second time President Obama is meeting with the Silicon Valley heavyweights in recent months over the controversial U.S. government spying. The tech industry has widely criticized the government surveillance programs because it hurts their business and reputation badly. Internet companies rely on users’ faith for their businesses. The consistent reports of NSA spying have made users, especially corporate ones, skeptical of U.S. tech companies.
During the previous meeting, tech CEOs urged President Obama to reform the surveillance programs swiftly. Interestingly, the meeting comes a week after Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg telephoned President Obama to express his anger and frustration over the NSA’s surveillance practices. Zuckerberg was frustrated with revelations that the U.S. government uses an automated system called “Turbine” to hack into millions of computers.
Facebook CEO urges Obama to be more transparent
Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) CEO recently said that his team was working tirelessly to improve security. They can protect users from cyber criminals, but not the government. Zuckerberg told President Obama that the government needs to be more transparent about what it is doing.
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) CEO Larry Page has also been critical of the government snooping. During the TED conference on Wednesday, Page said that it is disappointing to know that the government is doing that sort of stuff secretly. Page said that we can’t have a democracy if technology companies have to protect their users from the government itself. To projects users from spying, Google said yesterday that it will encrypt every message on Gmail.