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THE STATE OF SMALL BUSINESS

Tech Leaders to Meet With Obama on HealthCare.gov and NSA

President Obama convenes a pow wow with Silicon Valley's best-known executives Tuesday at the White House.

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Some of Silicon Valley's biggest names--including Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and Apple CEO Tim Cook-- are expected to meet with President Obama this morning to discuss the recent Healthcare.gov launch disaster and the controversy over the U.S. National Security Agency's surveillance programs, according to a White House announcement.

The President plans to meet with tech executives to discuss the strides the government has made toward making Healthcare.gov fully functional. He wants to parse performance and capacity issues on the site, but also examine how the government can do better in the future at maximizing innovation, efficiency and customer service.  

Today's expected talk will also likely delve into national security and the economic impacts of unauthorized intelligence disclosures per the documents released by Edward Snowden, the former security contractor who leaked a trove of National Security Agency documents. Additionally, the President plans to discuss ways his administration can more seamlessly work with the tech sector to improve social mobility and the economy, create jobs and alleviate inequality.

According to the White House, the 15 tech heavy hitters attending the high-profile meeting include:

· Dick Costolo, CEO, Twitter
· Chad Dickerson, CEO, Etsy
· Reed Hastings, co-founder and CEO, Netflix
· Drew Houston, founder and CEO, Dropbox
· Marissa Mayer, president and CEO, Yahoo!
· Burke Norton, chief legal officer, Salesforce
· Mark Pincus, co-founder, chief product officer and chairman, Zynga
· Shervin Pishevar, co-founder and co-CEO, Sherpa Global
· Brian Roberts, chairman and CEO, Comcast
· Erika Rottenberg, vice president, general counsel and secretary, LinkedIn
· Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook
· Eric Schmidt, executive chairman, Google
· Brad Smith, executive vice president and general counsel, Microsoft
· Randall Stephenson, chairman and CEO, AT&T

While it remains to be seen what tips these great minds will have for the President when it comes to Healthcare.gov, it's not hard to guess their opinions on one issue.

Just last week, eight of these tech companies, including Google and Yahoo, sent an open letter to President Obama urging him to scale back government surveillance. "We urge the U.S. to take the lead and make reforms that ensure that government surveillance efforts are clearly restricted by law, proportionate to the risks, transparent and subject to independent oversight," the letter read. 

In related news, a federal judge ruled Monday that the NSA's surveillance activities may in fact be unconstitutional. The practice of unwarranted phone data collection became known after Snowden released classified materials to The Guardian newspaper earlier this year. The judge in this case put the ruling on hold to allow the government time to appeal. A separate case in New York brought by the American Civil Liberties Union may also come to a similar judgment.

IMAGE: Getty (Mayer); Pete Souza/Flickr (Obama)
Last updated: Dec 17, 2013

NICOLE CARTER is Inc.'s San Francisco bureau chief. She was previously an editor at New York Daily News, and her work has also appeared in Consumer Reports magazine.
@nicoleckinc




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