Top tech executives to meet with Obama to push for limits on surveillance

December 16, 2013

Leading technology executives plan to meet with President Obama on Tuesday to press their case for new limits on government surveillance after months of damaging revelations about the extent of National Security Agency snooping.

Top executives of Apple, Google, Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo, LinkedIn and Microsoft are among 15 corporate leaders invited to the meeting. Those companies are part of a coalition that last week started a major campaign to urge Obama and Congress to curb the ability of the NSA to collect e-mails, address books, video chats and other communications of users worldwide. Companies also have lobbied for the right to publish more information on the formal surveillance requests they receive.

The agenda is expected to include other items, including economic issues and the unresolved technical problems related to the glitch-plagued rollout of Obama’s health-care law and its Web portal, HealthCare.gov, wrote a White House official, who asked not to be identified because the meeting had not yet taken place.

But tech industry officials made clear that their focus is the ongoing controversy over surveillance. “A number of tech execs look forward to the opportunity to share directly with the president the principles for surveillance reform that they laid out last week and urge him to move aggressively on reform,” said one industry official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Technology leaders have repeatedly expressed their frustration with the pervasiveness of U.S. government surveillance, which has caused a global backlash against the popular Web-based services they offer.

Also scheduled to attend are the heads of AT&T and Comcast. Telecommunications executives have not been nearly as vocal as their technology industry counterparts in criticizing government surveillance.

Staff writers Juliet Eilperin and Hayley Tsukayama contributed to this report.

Follow The Post’s new tech blog, The Switch, where technology and policy connect.

Craig Timberg is a national technology reporter for The Post.
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