Obama to face Apple CEO Tim Cook, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, other tech execs pressing for NSA limits

“President Barack Obama today will face a group of executives including Apple Inc.’s Tim Cook and Yahoo! Inc.’s Marissa Mayer whose companies are pushing the U.S. to curb broad government spying on communications,” Margaret Talev reports for Bloomberg.

“The executives intend to press Obama to act on the changes to surveillance policies proposed in a letter sent to the president and lawmakers last week, according to a representative of one of the companies, who asked not to be identified because the meeting plans aren’t public,” Talev reports. “Apple and Yahoo were among the companies that signed the letter, which said the U.S. should take the lead in changing government surveillance practices after revelations that the National Security Agency gained access to phone and Internet data networks to conduct spying. The companies asked in the letter that the U.S. ‘ensure that government surveillance efforts are clearly restricted by law, proportionate to the risks, transparent and subject to independent oversight.'”

MacDailyNews Note: The list of attendees:

• Tim Cook, CEO, Apple
• Dick Costolo, CEO, Twitter
• Chad Dickerson, CEO, Etsy
• Reed Hastings, Co-Founder & CEO, Netflix
• Drew Houston, Founder & CEO, Dropbox
• Marissa Mayer, President and CEO, Yahoo!
• Burke Norton, Chief Legal Officer, Salesforce
• Mark Pincus, Founder, Chief Product Officer & Chairman, Zynga
• Shervin Pishevar, Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Sherpa Global
• Brian Roberts, Chairman & 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 & CEO, AT&T

“The White House initially sought out the executives to discuss progress in fixing the health-care website and government information-technology stumbles, according to a person familiar with the invitation, who asked for anonymity to discuss private communications,” Talev reports. “The company leaders didn’t agree to the meeting, which was arranged in the past few days, until the White House included the NSA surveillance on the agenda, the person said.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: In contrast to the portion of this meeting that we consider to be merely a dog and pony show (initial reports mentioned the meeting was only about the Obamacare website fiasco), anything moves the ball even a little bit towards adhering to the rights granted under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is a good thing. (Plus, after not being mentioned in earlier reports, it’s nice to see that Marissa is attending, too.)

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer (photo by Brigitte Lacombe)
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer (photo by Brigitte Lacombe)

MacDailyNews Note: UPDATE 1:01pm EST: Added photo of Marissa Mayer as per numerous requests.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]

Related articles:
U.S. federal Judge: NSA phone surveillance program likely violates Fourth Amendment of U.S. Constitution – December 16, 2013
U.S. NSA uses Google cookies to pinpoint targets for hacking – December 11, 2013
Apple, Google, others call for government surveillance reform – December 9, 2013
U.S. NSA secretly infiltrated Yahoo, Google data centers worldwide, Snowden documents say – October 30, 2013
Obama administration decides NSA spying is ‘essential,’ but oversight of NSA is not – October 8, 2013
Apple’s iPhone 5s with Touch ID seen as protection against U.S. NSA – September 16, 2013
German government: Windows 8 contains U.S. NSA snooping back doors; too dangerous to use – August 23, 2013
Report: NSA can see 75% of U.S. Web traffic, can snare emails – August 21, 2013
NSA can read email, online chats, track Web browsing without warrant, documents leaked by Edward Snowden show – July 31, 2013
Momentum builds against U.S. government surveillance – July 29, 2013
U.S. House rejects effort to curb NSA surveillance powers, 205-217 – July 24, 2013
Obama administration scrambles to shut down imminent U.S. House vote to defund NSA spying – July 24, 2013
Obama administration demands master encryption keys from firms in order to conduct electronic surveillance against Internet users – July 24, 2013
Apple, Google, dozens of others push Obama administration to disclose U.S. surveillance requests – July 19, 2013
Secret court agrees to allow Yahoo to reveal its fight against U.S. government PRISM requests – July 16, 2013
How Microsoft handed U.S. NSA, FBI, CIA access to users’ encrypted video, audio, and text communications – July 11, 2013
DuckDuckGo search engine surges 33% in wake of PRISM scandal – June 20, 2013
Yahoo: Since December 2012, we have received up to 13,000 U.S. gov’t requests for customer data – June 18, 2013
Apple: Since December 2012, we have received U.S. gov’t requests for customer data for up to 10,000 accounts – June 17, 2013
Nine companies, including Apple, tied to PRISM, Obama to be smacked with class-action lawsuit – June 12, 2013
U.S. lawmakers urge review of ‘Prism’ domestic spying, Patriot Act – June 10, 2013
PRISM: Do Apple, Google, Facebook have an ethical obligation not to spy on users? – June 8, 2013
Plausible deniability: The strange and unbelievable similarities in the Apple, Google, and Facebook PRISM denials – June 7, 2013
Google’s Larry Page on government eavesdropping: ‘We had not heard of a program called PRISM until yesterday’ – June 7, 2013
Seecrypt app lets iPhone, Android users keep voice calls, text messages away from carriers, government eyes and ears – June 7, 2013
Obama administration defends PRISM data-collection as legal anti-terrorism tool – June 7, 2013
Facebook, Google, Yahoo join Apple in sort-of denying PRISM involvement – June 7, 2013
Report: Intelligence program gives U.S. government direct access to customer data on Apple servers; Apple denies – June 6, 2013


  1. Government surveillance is ALREADY clearly restricted by law. The fourth amendment to the constitution is not ambiguous, and Obama’s minions commit billions of felonies on a routine basis.

    The NSA ignores the constitution, and they will ignore whatever promises Obama makes to the public. The only way to get a lid on this criminal organization is to abolish it.


    1. Violating the Fourth Amendment is not a felony. The result is any evidence gathered in such a search is excluded from use in any trial, particularly any criminal prosecution.

      1. Violating the Fourth Amendment is not a felony.

        Actually, it’s several felonies. Title 18, U.S.C., Section 242, for example, as well as various state laws against eavesdropping.


  2. We now know definitively the government and intelligence leaders will build, and defend at all costs, mass surveillance programs and activities that are clearly unconstitutional.

    I’d say these tech leaders have the upper hand today.

    1. No different from leaders of any other generation, any other country, etc. Police are always looking for ways to get information on criminals so they can arrest them and put them in jail. Governments are always looking for ways to get information on everyone, allies and enemies alike.

  3. Those from the free world should note that the headline does not read Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, Apple CEO Tim Cook other tech execs to face Obama pressing for NSA limits (to be stretched) and once again indicates more insights into the mentality of a culture that has totally lost the plot.

    – No chivalry by putting the women’s name first, scratch that quality from them.
    – With the Koh, Cote twins at his side it will be the execs facing the Obama, and not the other way around. Saying that Obama and execs are facing each other would be a sign of equality and that just doesn’t fit into a terroristic psyche.
    – I added the to be stretched cause that’s what it’s going to really be about. Remember free worlders, this is the so called country with a government that has been known to ignore a white flags, uses weapons of mass radiation and destruction on innocent civilian populations, has removed a democratically elected government, goes on illegal wars, tortures, and ensures that their presidents don’t have to face any trial for crimes against humanity.

    Why will those limits be stretched? You don’t have to look no further than the Terrorist card:

    “Obama has defended the NSA’s work as necessary to prevent another terrorist attack, while also saying he will propose some limits to guard against unwarranted snooping in Americans’ private affairs.”

    Yes consider is a Christmas gift, that lovely terrorist card good in all countries, even by the one that is trying so hard to be a threat to world security. I don’t think anyone needs a translation of what that really means. By becoming terrorists they are hoping that it will prevent another terrorist attack and that instead of being a major importer of terrorist attack they will be an major exporter.

    “When children learn to devalue others they can devalue anyone, including their parents.”

    I do hope that there will be a gift exchange at the meeting, keeping in with the Christmas spirit. This looks appropriate.

    1. Please stop reading conspiracy websites. Obama is defending the NSA’s actions no more or less than would Bush, Clinton, Reagan, Carter, Roosevelt, etc. etc.

      Congress passes and Presidents sign bills all the time that they may or may not believe are Constitutional, and hopefully during debate about a law’s reach sufficient restrictions on activities are placed to keep it Constitutional. But it’s not their job to interpret the laws as Constitutional. That’s the court’s job, with the SCOTUS as the final arbiter.

      1. Once again you prove yourself to be nothing but a particularly ignorant amateur:

        But it’s not their job to interpret the laws as Constitutional

        TOTAL BULLSHIT. Every branch of the US government is required to measure law specifically against the US Constitution at all times.

        Go on, flame away. But I am so sick of your bullshit.

        1. Don’t be so hard on him, he does have a point when he says that “it’s not their job to interpret the laws as Constitutional” if you consider that the Constitution was written so that the common civilized person of the day could interpret it and even then it did not prevent the u.s. from engaging in slavery for quite some time afterwards. Who knows how long it is going to take them to do the same for torture.

      2. Reading conspiracy websites? Heck with this stuff I should be writing for conspiracy websites (and maybe I do).

        All that stuff that you say about bills and constitutions is nice, but you have to realize that it only works within your country. Keep pushing this wannabe terrorist attitude to the international community and the point of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) as final arbiter will be quite moot.

    1. Times change, laws change. The Constitution is meant to be amended. Today, there is an ever present threat of terrorists, hackers and whatnot. When national security is at stake, you better be on top and sometimes you have to bend the rules to stay on top of sophisticated bad guys. If it is time to amend the Constitution or at at the very least, find acceptable rules for spying, then so be it!!

      1. It’s not time to amend the Constitution, It’s not time to turn the USA into a fascist state. It IS time to defend personal privacy, dignity, respect and sanity. Fight the FUD and maintain your citizen rights. The government does NOT rule the people. The PEOPLE rule the government. That’s not changing. F*ck you NSA for screwing over the people and the institution you have sworn to serve.

        As for the passive people, willing to let themselves be steamrolled into victims of #MyStupidGovernment, go read some history of what your kind has wrought in the past from your foolishness. Go read what wiser minds have stated about the responsibilities of citizenship and the ramifications of shirking those responsibilities. I’ll gladly post a few of them here, once again, if you haven’t read them here already.

  4. Let me get this straight, Obama is officially meeting with a “Conspirator” CEO?

    Tim Cook should condition any help with the insistence that the DOJ dogs retreat and are muzzled.

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