It came out yesterday that President Obama was scheduled to meet privately with a group of "tech" execs
officially about the status of the healthcare.gov website. However, as some expected, it appeared that the meeting focused much more on the NSA's overreach and the need for reforms
. While somewhat disappointing that the meeting was held privately, it looks like the execs made it clear that the NSA surveillance efforts were doing a lot more harm than good and something needed to change.
Schmidt, of Google, opened the meeting and laid out industry officials' concerns. Obama seemed sympathetic to the idea of allowing more disclosure of government surveillance requests by technology companies, according to a tech industry official who was briefed on the meeting. The official asked to remain anonymous because the meeting was private.
Mayer, the Yahoo! executive, brought up concerns about the potentially negative impact that could be caused if countries, such as Brazil, move forward with legislation that would require service providers to ensure that data belonging to a citizen of a certain country remain in the country it originates, the official said.
That would require technology companies to build data centers in each country — a costly problem for American Internet companies, the official said. The White House noted in a statement after the meeting that the group discussed the "economic impacts of unauthorized intelligence disclosures."
We've been saying since the Snowden leaks first came out that the tech industry needed to be a lot more vocal about how bad the NSA's actions are for pretty much everyone, so it's good to see at least some effort to continue to push that story. Of course, the list of attendees also includes AT&T's Randall Stephenson -- and AT&T has been one of the companies most complicit in the NSA's activities, something the company refuses to talk about
, and unlike the actual tech companies, seems completely unwilling to address