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Obama Talks NSA Snooping With Tech Leaders

Reforming the NSA was the focus of a meeting with tech executives, including Yahoo's Marissa Mayer, Etsy's Chad Dickerson, and Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg on Tuesday.
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Tech executives met with President Barack Obama Tuesday to discuss what the government can do to allay their concerns over the National Security Agency's questionable spying operations. 

The meeting, which was held at the White House, came a day after U.S. District Judge Richard Leon ruled in a preliminary injunction that the NSA's practice of collecting data from Americans' phone records appears unconstitutional. The ruling will apparently have little effect, but it does underscore the importance of the issue to Silicon Valley. 

In a statement released after the meeting, the president stressed he believes in "an open, free, and innovative Internet" and will consider the group's suggestions as he finalizes his review of the government snooping. Among those in attendance were vice president Joe Biden, Twitter chief executive Dick Costolo, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt, and Yahoo's chief executive Marissa Mayer. 

Last week, eight of the biggest tech companies in the Valley sent an open letter to Obama, urging him to scale back the NSA's programs, among 40 other changes. The hope is that Obama would lead reform ensuring NSA's spying practices "are clearly restricted by law, proportionate to the risks, transparent and subject to independent oversight," they wrote. 

Tuesday's meeting was originally intended to focus on how the Obama administration can work with the Valley to "further grow the economy, create jobs, and address issues around income inequality and social mobility," according to an earlier statement released by the White House. However, it is unclear what, if any, resolutions came from that. 

For now, the White House says it plans to review the group's report and release a public version sometime next year.  

Did this meeting move the needle any further? Let us know in the comments.

Last updated: Dec 17, 2013

WILL YAKOWICZ | Staff Writer | Reporter, Inc.com

Will Yakowicz is a staff writer for Inc. magazine. He has covered business, crime, and local politics for The Brooklyn Paper and was the editor of Park Slope Patch. He has also reported in the West Bank and Moscow for Tablet Magazine. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.




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