Apple, Google and AT&T Meet Obama to Discuss NSA Surveillance Concerns

Photo Credit: APBarack Obama hosted a summit on government surveillance and digital privacy attended by Apple chief executive Tim Cook, Google vice-president Vint Cerf and the boss of US telecoms network AT&T on Thursday.

The US president attended in person, sources told the Politico blog, as did other technology company executives. Additional attendees included representatives of the Center for Democracy and Technology and Gigi Sohn, leader of internet campaign group Public Knowledge.

The meeting was apparently prompted by growing concerns among US technology companies that revelations from the Guardian and others about the extent and depth of surveillance by the National Security Agency, and the companies’ obligation to allow access to data under secret court rules, could be damaging their reputation and commercial interests abroad.

The gathering followed a closed-doors meeting earlier this week with Obama’s chief of staff Denis McDonough and general counsel Kathy Ruemmler at the White House.

On the agenda at Tuesday’s meeting were the surveillance activities of the NSA, commercial privacy issues and the online tracking of consumers.

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