President Obama meets with Tim Cook and other tech execs to talk surveillance

Obama iPad case

According to a report from Politico, President Barack Obama met with Apple CEO Tim Cook and a number of other tech executives yesterday for a closed-door discussion on government surveillance. The site says this was the second meeting of its kind this week.

Cook was joined by the likes of AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, Google’s chief Internet evangelist Vint Cerf, and Public Knowledge President Gigi Sohn, to talk about various surveillance strategies and tother topics such as the recent NSA PRISM program scandal…

Here’s Tony Romm from Politico:

“President Barack Obama hosted Apple CEO Tim Cook, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, Google computer scientist Vint Cerf and other tech executives and civil liberties leaders on Thursday for a closed-door meeting about government surveillance, sources tell POLITICO.

The session, which Obama attended himself, followed a similar gathering earlier this week between top administration officials, tech-industry lobbyists and leading privacy hawks, the sources said. Those earlier, off-the-record discussions centered on the controversy surrounding the NSA as well as commercial privacy issues such as online tracking of consumers.”

Both the White House and the executives that attended the meetings declined to comment on what was talked about. But sources close to the site say the meetings were in response to the president’s directive to have more national dialogue about privacy protection.

Tim Cook’s attendance is particularly of note because Apple was one of the 9 companies named in the PRISM scandal that was first brought to light in June. The far-reaching program is said to allow the NSA to access private user data without the need for a warrant.

Apple, like most of the named tech firms, has denied allegations that it was ever involved in such a program. In July, the iPad maker joined an alliance of over 60 companies to call upon the US government to allow them to report more specifically on security requests.