Technology Leaders Meet With Obama At The White House
Alex Wong/Getty ImagesFcebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, right, arrives at the White House for a meeting Friday with President Barack Obama.
By Roger Runningen
and Chris Strohm


Facebook (FB) Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg left a meeting with President Barack Obama unsatisfied with administration assurances that the government can protect privacy while continuing surveillance.

Zuckerberg and five other Internet and technology executives were invited to the White House Friday to discuss National Security Agency spying following revelations the NSA may have infected millions of computers globally with malware to advance surveillance.

"While the U.S. government has taken helpful steps to reform its surveillance practices, these are simply not enough," Facebook said in a statement released after the meeting. "People around the globe deserve to know that their information is secure and Facebook will keep urging the U.S. government to be more transparent about its practices and more protective of civil liberties."

Facebook, Google (GOOG) and Apple (AAPL) are among the companies that have been pressing the administration to restrain spying following revelations about the extent of NSA surveillance and data collection by fugitive former contractor Edward Snowden. The NSA's global sweep also has drawn protest from other nations, including NATO ally Germany.

Obama has said his administration already ended some of the surveillance practices disclosed by Snowden and in January promised further restraints while defending spying as a bulwark against terrorism.

Security Needs

At Friday's meeting, Obama told the executives he wants to balance security needs with online privacy,
updating them on changes made since his Jan. 17 directive and about a review on so-called big data being conducted by adviser John Podesta, according to a White House statement released after the meeting.

Obama told them he's committed to "taking steps that can give people greater confidence that their rights are being protected while preserving important tools that keep us safe," according to the statement.

Zuckerberg was joined at the meeting by Eric Schmidt, Google's executive chairman, and CEOs Reed Hastings of Netflix (NFLX), Drew Houston of Dropbox, Alex Karp of Palantir Technologies and Aaron Levie of Box, according to the White House.

Lisa Gordon, a spokeswoman for Palantir, said she wouldn't issue a comment on the meeting because it was an off-the-record session.

Yahoo (YHOO) Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer was invited to attend the meeting yet declined because she couldn't make it on short notice. The company will remain part of the discussions going forward, according to a company spokeswoman. Microsoft (MSFT), LinkedIn (LNKD) and Twitter also weren't represented because their chief executives couldn't make it.

Zuckerberg's Post

The meeting was arranged after Zuckerberg said he called Obama to express his frustration over the government's spying.

"The U.S. government should be the champion for the Internet, not a threat," Zuckerberg wrote in a March 13 post on his Facebook page. "They need to be much more transparent about what they're doing, or otherwise people will believe the worst."

Zuckerberg's comments followed reports that the NSA may have infected computers with malware and disguised itself as a Facebook server to gain access to users' data for spying, according to documents leaked by former government contractor Edward Snowden to the online news site The Intercept.

The meeting also preceded a March 28 deadline under which Obama is seeking recommendations to end the NSA's collection of bulk phone records. Internet companies are closely watching what Obama decides to do about the collection of bulk phone records, because the spying is done under a broad authority that could also include the interception of Internet data, said a person familiar with Friday's gathering who wasn't authorized to speak on the record.

More Disclosure

In January, Google, Apple and other technology companies won U.S. permission to disclose more about government orders for customer data, a step they sought to fortify their reputations after revelations about their role in U.S. spying.

Companies including Apple, which was the first to report details allowed under the agreement with the Justice Department, are permitted to say broadly how many accounts are covered by government requests and whether the content of users' communications was sought.


More From Bloomberg:

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Professional Vs Do it Yourself Investing

Should you get advice or DYI?

View Course »

Income Investing

Grow your nest-egg.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

28 Comments

Filter by:
augustgschwartz

How on earth does Zuck think he knows what Obama is doing about NSA spying. A guy finds himself in the right place at the right time, makes billions and then thinks he knows more about the world than the gizmo that he created. Kinda like Howard Stern believing that he is anything more than they guy who mixed sex with radio.

March 23 2014 at 3:16 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to augustgschwartz's comment
Poppy Potts

If there is anything Zuck knows its internet and internet security, His success is not all chance and luck like you seem to think. No one knows what obama is doing and its probably just as well because you would have every reason to be very afraid seeing as how he is a communist and he is trying to turn the country into a third world nation and he seems to think he is a dictator or even God at times.

March 24 2014 at 1:48 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
bbiggert

Maybe he has finally seen the light and I say good for him. It is also time for him to clean up his on companies crap as well !

March 23 2014 at 3:08 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
JIM ISHOO

zukershitman is a thief himself now he is calling others spy. Go NSA good for you get on his ass.

March 23 2014 at 12:56 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
vigoddess

ZUCKERBERG SHOULD LOOK AT HIS OWN CREATION BECAUSE
MORE PEOPLE ON FACEBOOK GOT RIPPED OFF BY HACKERS
AND SCAM ARTISTS SINCE ITS INCEPTION. THE INTERNET IS
INUNDATED WITH PEOPLE LOOKING FOR VICTIMS FAR MORE
THAN NSA, WHICH AT LEAST IS TRYING TO PROTECT US FROM
TERRORISTS. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS PRIVACY ANYWHERE
ON THE INTERNET, NO MATTER HOW MANY SERVICES YOU
PAY FOR, THOUGH THE TECH CEO'S DON'T LIKE SPENDING
A DIME ON PAYING FOR SECURITY SINCE IT OFFERS NO
PROFIT SO IT'S EASIER TO BLAME THE GOVERNMENT.
EVERYBODY DOES ANYWAY FOR EVERYTHING THEY CREATED,
SO WHY NOT MR. ZUCKERBERG GETTING ON THE SAME
BANDWAGON. THERE'S JUST SO MUCH YOU CAN EARN IN
A LIFETIME OFF OTHERS,, IT'S A SMALL SMALL WORLD AS THEY
SING IN DISNEYWORLD.

March 22 2014 at 10:52 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
crazy ray

Good lord, the thieves are now accusing others of being thieves. Zuckerberg has been robbing people of their personal info for years and made a fortune by doing it. What's his problem, is he afraid somebody else will horn in on his con?

March 22 2014 at 9:43 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
socalflash

So Zuckerberg is unhappy with the NSA's spying. That's funny because Zuckerberg's Facebook spies on millions every day on a much more personal level. Example;p private messages on facebook are not actually private (article in AOL last week documents this). Zuckerberg sounds like a hypocrite to me, although a rich hypocrite if that makes a difference.

March 22 2014 at 9:14 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
fmgi54

Zuckerberg facebook mining all our information

March 22 2014 at 8:52 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
alfredschrader

Here are the facts. Anybody, and I mean anybody who is spying on you is attacking you.
The act of spying is to gain tactical information for use against you, period.
Spying on North Korea, for example, is great. Spying on you and me is so wrong it cannot even be categorized.

In this age of Snowdens and hackers it's impossible for anybody to safegard your information once it leaves your control, not even a government. This entire spying thing needs to stop now.

March 22 2014 at 6:01 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
Iselin007

Well if the (spys) want to challenge themselves, I got stuck researching my family tree somewhere in the Medieval Ages about 1066 to 1097.

March 22 2014 at 6:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Iselin007

They have your phone company spying on you but nobody says anything when you get billed by a third party scammer!

March 22 2014 at 5:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply