A week before a key deadline for reforming certain government surveillance practices, President Obama will again meet Friday afternoon with some of the most powerful faces of the tech world to resume talks on the government’s controversial spying tactics.
Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Eric Schmidt of Google, Drew Houston of Dropbox, Reed Hastings of Netflix, Alexander Karp of Palantir and Aaron Levie of Box will attend the meeting, White House press secretary Jay Carney said Friday during his afternoon briefing.
LinkedIn representatives were also invited, but declined “due to scheduling conflicts.” Yahoo is also unable to attend.
An administration official would say only that the discussion, scheduled to begin just after 4 p.m., will be “on the issues of privacy, technology, and intelligence.”
Zuckerberg strongly condemned Obama’s administration for its secret spying tactics in an open blog post last week, after reports circulated that the National Security Agency had once used spoofs of the social network to infect computers with malware. The billionaire said he had called Obama to share his frustration “over the damage the government is creating” with its surveillance programs, adding, “It seems like it will take a very long time for true full reform.”
In response, the NSA denied ever deploying a Facebook doppelganger and said it lacked the technological capabilities to do so.
Today’s roundtable takes place just a week before the March 28 deadline Obama set for his administration to present him options on how to proceed with reforms to the NSA’s collection of telephone metadata, which he announced in a major policy speech in January. Attorney General Eric Holder said earlier this week that the Justice Department would meet that deadline.
Obama last met with some of Silicon Valley’s top executives in December to discuss similar issues regarding privacy and government surveillance. The White House attempted to characterize that summit as an educational gathering convened to discuss wide-ranging priorities, including the botched rollout of HealthCare.gov, but the tech representatives insisted on keeping the conversation focused on NSA spying.
Along with Google’s Schmidt, that meeting included Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, and Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, as well as senior representatives from several other influential firms.
Zuckerberg did not personally attend December’s meeting.