Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) CEO Tim Cook and many other tech executives had an off the record meeting with President Obama to discuss the nation’s spying programs, says a report from POLITICO by Tony Romm. Some of the other executives that accompanied Apple’s CEO were Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) tech guru Vint Cerf, AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) CEO Randall Stephenson etc.
Meeting missing from Obama’s schedule
The off-the-record meeting is already getting a severe thrashing from privacy advocates accusing the attendees of meeting secretly to discuss secret spying. The meeting was not mentioned anywhere in Obama’s public schedule for Thursday.
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Groups that attended the Thursday meeting included members from privacy groups like Center for Democracy and Technology. Gigi Sohn, the head of privacy group Public Knowledge was also present at the meeting.
Similar meeting held earlier with Apple Inc. (AAPL), others
Earlier this week, Obama hosted a similar meet with top administration officials, tech-industry lobbyists and leading privacy hawks. According to sources, these secret meetings revolve around the NSA’s controversy and online spying of users.
As reported by POLITICO, on Tuesday, chief of staff Denis McDonough and general counsel Kathy Ruemmler called for a privacy-focused huddle in the Roosevelt Room. Representatives from various segments of the tech industry including from the Information Technology Industry Council, TechNet and TechAmerica were also present. Also, representatives from American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Privacy Information Center attended the meeting.
One administration aide told POLITICO, “This is one of a number of discussions the administration is having with experts and stakeholders in response to the president’s directive to have a national dialogue about how to best protect privacy in a digital era, including how to respect privacy while defending our national security.”
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), All involved parties declined to comment
When contacted by POLITICO, a spokesman from the White House, as well as spokespeople from companies that attended the meeting declined to comment about the high-level meeting with the president.
After the severe criticism of the NSA program, Obama did promise to hold more public debates on the spying topic and also on country’s counter-terrorism policies. However, with new revelations coming out almost each day, it looks like the White House has chosen to resolve the issue by secretly meeting with tech executives and consumer groups.