President Obama met with tech executives over spying on Friday

Posted Mar 22, 2014

President Obama met with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, Dropbox CEO Drew Houston, Palantir Technologies’ CEO Alexander Karp, Box’s CEO Aaron Levie to discuss ways to reform the National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance program. Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer and newly appointed Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella were also invited, but could not change their schedules in time to attend.

“The President used this opportunity to update the CEOs on our progress in implementing the principles and reforms he announced on January 17, including the new Presidential Directive he issued to govern our intelligence activities that will ensure that we take into account our security requirements, but also our alliances, our trade and investment relationships, including the concerns of our companies, and our commitment to privacy and basic liberties,” said the White House in a statement. “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.”

Recently there was a report published by The Intercept that reported that the NSA pretended to be a Facebook server in order to place spy malware on targeted computers to gain access to data stored on hard drives. The NSA denied the report though. One day after the report was published, Zuckerberg called Obama out of frustration.

“I’ve been so confused and frustrated by the repeated reports of the behavior of the US government. When our engineers work tirelessly to improve security, we imagine we’re protecting you against criminals, not our own government,” said Zuckerberg in a Facebook post after he called Obama.

Facebook is not the only tech company that the NSA allegedly used for surveillance. This past September, a Brazilian publication said that the agency disguised itself as Google. This was followed by a report by The Washington Post in October that claims the NSA tapped into private fiber-optic networks that connects Google and Yahoo!’s data centers.