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Tech Leaders Push Back Against Obama's Efforts To Divert Discussion From NSA

Soulskill posted about 7 months ago | from the stay-on-target dept.

Businesses 312

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "The Guardian reports that while President Obama tried to portray a meeting with tech leaders as a wide-ranging discussion of broader priorities including ways of improving the functionality of the troubled health insurance website Healthcare.gov, senior executives from Apple, Yahoo, Google, Comcast, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and Netflix said they were determined to keep the discussion focused on the NSA. 'We are there to talk about the NSA,' said one executive who was briefed on the company's agenda before the event. After meeting Obama and vice president Joe Biden for two-and-a-half hours, the companies issued a one-line statement. 'We appreciated the opportunity to share directly with the president our principles on government surveillance that we released last week and we urge him to move aggressively on reform.' Many of the senior tech leaders had already made public their demand for sweeping surveillance reforms in an open letter that specifically called for a ban on the kind of bulk data collection that a federal judge ruled on Monday was probably unlawful. Obama seemed sympathetic to the idea of allowing more disclosure of government surveillance requests by technology companies, according to a tech industry official who was briefed on the meeting. Marissa Mayer brought up concerns about the potentially negative impact that could be caused if countries, such as Brazil, move forward with legislation that would require service providers to ensure that data belonging to a citizen of a certain country remain in the country it originates, the official said. That would require technology companies to build data centers in each country — a costly problem for American Internet companies. The decision by the tech giants to press their case in such a public and unified way poses a problem for the White House. The industry is an increasingly influential voice in Washington, a vital part of the US economy and many of its most successful leaders are prominent Democratic political donors."

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He's the President. (-1, Troll)

petscii (318753) | about 7 months ago | (#45721349)

He did not hijack your meeting. It was always his. Get over yourself.

He's a *LOUSY* president. (-1, Troll)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 7 months ago | (#45721385)

Obama may be the POTUS, but he is a VERY LOUSY potus.

VERY VERY LOUSY !!

Re:He's a *LOUSY* president. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45721535)

Are you going to claim you had no hand in putting him there? He seems just the type you would have voted for in 2008, but are now having "buyer's remorse."

Re:He's a *LOUSY* president. (0, Offtopic)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | about 7 months ago | (#45721853)

Are you going to claim you had no hand in putting him there?

I've never voted in a presidential election, for exactly that reason.

What those people do in the District of Criminals has neither my approval nor my consent (not that the care about or require either - they just pretend to on camera because it's more profitable that way)

Re:He's a *LOUSY* president. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45721969)

I've never voted in a presidential election, for exactly that reason.

Then you're even worse than the ones who vote for bad reasons, because you're giving their vote more weight.

Get off your ass and at least try to make a difference.

Re: He's a *LOUSY* president. (0, Redundant)

maccodemonkey (1438585) | about 7 months ago | (#45722199)

You give consent by not voting in elections. Not voting is a decision that gives consent to whatever happens as a result of your apathy.

Not making a decision is still making a decision.

Re: He's a *LOUSY* president. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45722253)

When the decision is between two parties with equal lack of merit, each equating to the same worst-case scenario (always the case), not voting is the same as voting. The fact of the matter is that voting is broken,

Re:He's a *LOUSY* president. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45721883)

I will admit to making a mistake in 2008, but I didn't make that same mistake in 2012.

AC for off-topic (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45721573)

America'd never b destroyed frm d outside. If v falter & lose r freedoms it'll b becoz v destroyed rselves

Surely you don't expect anyone to take you seriously with this, do you?

Re:He's a *LOUSY* president. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45722069)

What a brilliant argument from a rabid Space Nutter whose religion is based on the destruction of the planet.

Re:He's the President. (5, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | about 7 months ago | (#45721435)

yeah, not his fault -- they gave him the wrong teleprompter.

Re:He's the President. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45721445)

He's another person attending the meeting, and he has his opinion about the meeting. The other 8 people attending the meeting agreed that his opinion was not their opinion. That indicates that he's probably bullshitting more than them.

Re:He's the President. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45722131)

Of course the other 8 are the same ppl that are busily mining your data, scanning your harddrive, issuing DMCA takedowns, lobbying for H1Bs to pay low wages to, and filling your screens with advertising that they use to track your browsing!

Re:He's the President. (5, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 7 months ago | (#45721587)

He did not hijack your meeting.

They are not accusing him of hijacking the meeting. They are accusing him of spinning (or lying about) what happened in the meeting. I accept that Obama doesn't care much about the rights of the citizens, but he needs to understand that pervasive surveillance is also bad for business. When these companies move their data centers abroad, the jobs go with them. More and more people just don't want to do business with American tech companies. This is just as stupid as the encryption embargo that destroyed thousands of American jobs back in the 1990s.

Re:He's the President. (4, Insightful)

Guppy06 (410832) | about 7 months ago | (#45722135)

but he needs to understand that pervasive surveillance is also bad for business.

No, getting caught is bad for business. Some of the ways that cooperation and collaboration is rewarded (e.g. trade secrets) are quite good for business, which is why nobody made a stink about this before these revelations became public.

Re:He's the President. (4, Interesting)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 7 months ago | (#45722149)

but he needs to understand that pervasive surveillance is also bad for business.German coalition favors German-owned or open source software, aims to lock NSA out

There's no shortage of people willing to point that out. Having said that though, there could be some great benefits to us ordinary people if it encourages government adoption of open source and local products.

Germany’s new coalition government listed open source software among its IT policy priorities, and said it will take steps to protect its citizens against espionage threats from the NSA and other foreign intelligence agencies.

Coalition parties CDU, CSU and SPD signed up to the plans Monday in Berlin.

The new government’s goal is to keep core technologies, including IT security, process and enterprise software, cryptography and machine-to-machine communication on proprietary technology platforms and production lines in Germany or in Europe, according to the coalition agreement.

But the government will also promote the use and development of open platforms and open source software as an alternative to closed proprietary systems, and will support the use of those in Europe, the parties said in the agreement. The public sector will need to consider open source solutions as a possibility when purchasing new IT, they said.

They also want to compete on a global level with “software made in Germany” and strengthen the quality of security, data protection, design and usability by doing so

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2081140/german-coalition-favors-germanowned-or-open-source-software-aims-to-lock-nsa-out.html [pcworld.com]

Re:He's the President. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45722197)

But why is he spying on my grandma?

Re:He's the President. (2)

lennier1 (264730) | about 7 months ago | (#45722343)

Well, she could be storing illegal nuclear weapons in her basement ...

If I'm here and you're here, doesn't that ... (5, Insightful)

drnb (2434720) | about 7 months ago | (#45722411)

He did not hijack your meeting. It was always his. Get over yourself.

"If I'm here and you're here, doesn't that make it our time?" -- Jeff Spicoli

If anyone needs to get over himself it is the President. He is not a dictator. If he wants the support of the people he needs to listen to the people. If he wants the support of industry he needs to listen to industry. The people and industry are not here to do his bidding. He works for us.

Obama forgot he works for the Americans ! (3, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 7 months ago | (#45721359)

Obama forgot who his bosses are.

Obama thought he has become the KING of the Americans.

Obama is but one of the civil servants whose salaries are being paid by the American taxpayers.

Re:Obama forgot he works for the Americans ! (0, Offtopic)

Shaman (1148) | about 7 months ago | (#45721407)

All of this.

Re:Obama forgot he works for the Americans ! (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45722169)

Please try to contribute more. GPs comment was admirably strident but lacked substance and subtlety; your post is as useful as saying 'I agree'.

For my part, I still find it hard to take the likes of Google seriously as a defender of privacy. Their recent CEO said terrible things:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/04/google-ceo-eric-schmidt-privacy_n_776924.html [huffingtonpost.com]

  • "With your permission you give us more information about you, about your friends, and we can improve the quality of our searches [...] We don't need you to type at all. We know where you are. We know where you've been. We can more or less know what you're thinking about."

  • "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place,"

  • "In a world of asynchronous threats, it is too dangerous for there not to be some way to identify you,. ... We need a [verified] name service for people, ...Governments will demand it."

Though he has been wise, too. From the same article:

"I don't believe society understands what happens when everything is available, knowable and recorded by everyone all the time,"

The point being: Google and the rest of the ad-funded online companies profit from our personal data, and have an interest in the erosion of our privacy.

Whether they like it or not, they have a motive to stop government surveillance of the internet simply because it threatens to make people less willing to share personal information on the internet.

Invasion of privacy is bad, whether it's the government that's doing it, or the people.

Re:Obama forgot he works for the Americans ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45721415)

I'd really like to see a national Make Fun of the Asshole in the White House Day. Granted, every day should be that day, but having the entire nation rally around a single day for organizational purposes would definitely be convenient. I can't remember the last time I actually liked a sitting president, each and every one has been a liar, thief and a crook. As far as I'm concerned, anyone who wins the office deserves nothing but a noose.

Re:Obama forgot he works for the Americans ! (0, Flamebait)

Bartles (1198017) | about 7 months ago | (#45721421)

Racist. And you smell.

Re:Obama forgot he works for the Americans ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45721743)

Someone using the moniker Bartles is claiming racism? You and your brother James rely on poor minorities buying your awful swill. It smells too. Badly.

Re:Obama forgot he works for the Americans ! (3, Informative)

epyT-R (613989) | about 7 months ago | (#45721777)

How is that statement racist? I think liberals have forgotten the meaning and just hurl ad homs as shaming language.

Re:Obama forgot he works for the Americans ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45722233)

How is that statement racist? I think liberals have forgotten the meaning and just hurl ad homs as shaming language.

It's a little trick they learned. Calling people another evil thing in an effort to shut them up has worked quite well for a certain middle eastern country. When you have no valid argument, make the person look like a demon.

Re:Obama forgot he works for the Americans ! (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 7 months ago | (#45722309)

Calling people another evil thing in an effort to shut them up has worked quite well for a certain middle eastern country.

racist!

Re:Obama forgot he works for the Americans ! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45721551)

Obama forgot who his bosses are.

And the Corporations represented here reminded him.

Re:Obama forgot he works for the Americans ! (4, Insightful)

Spy Handler (822350) | about 7 months ago | (#45721605)

Not like those corporation give a rat's ass about the constitution or citizen liberties. They're only there because, like Marissa said, all those foreign countries getting suspicious of NSA might require them (the corporations) to build datacenter in every country they operate, and that's gonna be very costly to them.

Re:Obama forgot he works for the Americans ! (4, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 7 months ago | (#45721841)

Not like those corporation give a rat's ass about the constitution or citizen liberties.

Hell, their "stalker economy" business model is partially responsible for enabling the NSA. [washingtonpost.com] We can expect them to do everything they can to minimize their exposure on this problem, even if it makes things worse for us regular citizens. It is just serendipity that our interests and their interests are kind of sort of aligned for the moment like they were aligned on SOPA but you don't hear a peep from them about the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) treaty negotiations.

Re:Obama forgot he works for the Americans ! (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 7 months ago | (#45721739)

The reason this is happening is because he knows very well who his bosses are.

It's just that ignorant people think they know better and like to quote various papers. They are wrong, as papers don't decide who rules. Power does. And power is firmly in the hands of those that Obama and his likes serves.

So he'll rule just fine, people will feel they have been wronged, and do nothing about it. Because those in power will tell them through the mass media that life is unfair, that this is normal, and that they should just focus on beating their neighbor at the competition of who has the greener lawn. After all, that's a competition they can win!

Re:Obama forgot he works for the Americans ! (4, Insightful)

cold fjord (826450) | about 7 months ago | (#45721757)

Obama forgot who his bosses are.

Obama thought he has become the KING of the Americans.

Obama is but one of the civil servants whose salaries are being paid by the American taxpayers.

Although I am no great fan of President Obama, generally, and wish it was someone else, you nonetheless have that quite wrong. He isn't a "civil servant." Civil servants are hired help of the Executive branch of government.

President Obama is the President of the United States of America, leader of the country, a position long known as leader of the Free World, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States of America, the man empowered to authorize the launch of nuclear weapons, the head of the executive branch of the United States, the man who appoints the heads of the executive departments with the advice and consent of the Senate, the man who appoints Ambassadors, and the highest elected official in the country - one of only two national offices. His signature or acquiescence is generally required for bills passed by Congress to become law, otherwise he can block them unless the Congress musters 2/3 majority vote to override him, which rarely happens.

He isn't king, but as President he wields the highest authority of the executive branch. When backed by Congress he has enormous power.

You aren't his boss, he isn't a shoeshine boy that you can bark at. If you voted, you helped elect him, but that is past now. He has the office, and there is no recall. He can only be removed before his term expires for high crimes and misdemeanors as charged in the House and tried in the Senate. Although the Constitution and the courts are a key check on his power, the Congress is key. So far the country seems content on maintaining a Democratic Senate, which ensures he will have plenty of leverage to enact the unwise policies of his party.

It would be great if you started getting this sort of stuff right, you sound like you are howling at the moon.

Re:Obama forgot he works for the Americans ! (4, Interesting)

chill (34294) | about 7 months ago | (#45721827)

...you sound like you are howling at the moon.

This is the Internet. That is what they do here.

That being said, your civics lesson left out the large role lobbying and campaign contributions play in the decisions and actions of both Congress and the Executive. While the President can safely ignore the ranting of Internet dogs, he and the other players can't just blow off the leaders of some of the largest, most profitable corporations in the world. Mr. Obama may not be seeking re-election, but anyone looking for $$ from that crowd would do well to notice that they don't give a damn about the ACA and are up in arms about the NSA.

Where are the articles of impeachment (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45722171)

Nobody thought Nixon was in any danger of being removed until the house passed articles and the rubber met the road. How do you know what the Senate will do? If the Republican controlled house feels that this is a high crime, they should do their constitutional duty and impeach him. If the senate doesn't go for it then they can answer to the voters.

The real truth is that Republicans in the house are just fine with this, they just want it to be a Republican president who holds the keys to the turn key totalitarian state. All this about the senate is just misdirection so that you will vote for a Republican senator. The truth is that, when faced with a clear impeachable offense, it is the Republican Party that is refusing to act. Stop going on about the Senate and start insisting that the house vote to impeach.

Re:Obama forgot he works for the Americans ! (4, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | about 7 months ago | (#45722221)

leader of the country,

Nope. Leader of one of three co-equal branches of the federal government. He's not my boss, and he's not yours, either.

-jcr

Re:Obama forgot he works for the Americans ! (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 7 months ago | (#45722247)

Nobody said that he was the "boss of you."

But are you going to deny that the President of the United States hasn't been long referred to as the nation's leader? That is the role of the executive. Neither the Congress nor the Courts can fulfill that role. If you disagree, I think you need to build a case. Simple assertion won't cut it as a counterargument to historical practice that is based on practical reality.

I think you quite have that right.

Re:Obama forgot he works for the Americans ! (5, Funny)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 7 months ago | (#45722335)

i work for epa, so he kinda is

Re:Obama forgot he works for the Americans ! (0)

future assassin (639396) | about 7 months ago | (#45721793)

Obama forgot who his bosses are.

I think he knows exactly who his bosses. They know you wont pick up a gun and march do they don't give a fuck.

Re:Obama forgot he works for the Americans ! (3, Informative)

ewieling (90662) | about 7 months ago | (#45721845)

He is a rather lousy as a king or as a president. He allowed his "signature legislation" to be gutted to become the worst of socialized health care combined with the worst of privatized health care. The same people screaming about the evils of Obamacare are the same people who would be screaming about how terrible socialized medicine is. With socialized health care at least everyone would get health care.

Re:Obama forgot he works for the Americans ! (1)

epine (68316) | about 7 months ago | (#45722259)

He allowed ...

Try again. Frame your narrative in terms of viable choices.

Indicate whether you think that previous health care reform efforts failed because the previous reform-oriented administrations A) didn't try hard enough; B) had the wrong approach and were justifiable opposed; C) accepted failure entirely against their best judgment lacking sufficient political power to ram the bill through (whether good/bad for America); or D) accepted failure when entrenched ideological opposition effectively made America ungovernable (a condition which shows no sign of abating any time soon).

Given the nature of the ideological quagmire, one might reasonably argue that the best is the enemy of the good.

I'm personally of the opinion that the status quo of the American health care system (about twice the cost of any other developed nation) had become permanently incompatible with fiscal austerity, and that America had reached the point where the wrong fix is still better than no fix. If the Republicans know what the right fix looks like, they had their chance and didn't even swing at the ball.

Without the expensive Republican war and expensive Republican banking sector bail-out (with hardly any reform of the banking sector), America could have afforded the status quo health care system for a long while yet.

Reality bites.

Re:Obama forgot he works for the Americans ! (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 7 months ago | (#45722347)

some people don't want health care

Re:Obama forgot he works for the Americans ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45721947)

His bosses are the people who paid to get him in office. Your naiveté is astounding.

Apparently so! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45722063)

Obama forgot who his bosses are.

Yes, he did. They tried having a meeting with him to set him straight and he was recalcitrant.

Then again, he is POTUS so I think the banks are his REAL bosses!

Suck it Silicone Valley! You will NEVER - EVER - be more important than the banks!

Easy "fix" (2, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | about 7 months ago | (#45721369)

He should do what a Republican would do: lower their taxes in exchange for silence.

Re:Easy "fix" (4, Insightful)

epyT-R (613989) | about 7 months ago | (#45721817)

or what a democrat would do: lower their taxes in exchange for silence..oh wait.

Lets call this what it is (5, Interesting)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 7 months ago | (#45721437)

countries, such as Brazil, move forward with legislation that would require service providers to ensure that data belonging to a citizen of a certain country remain in the country it originates

In other words, a cash grab. Brazil isn't the most enlightened country when it comes to spying, so this is a little "pot kettle black" situation, but really its just an excuse to try to force more companies to spend more money in Brazil. It has absolutely nothing to do with the feigned "outrage" the politicians are espousing.

Re:Lets call this what it is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45721563)

That's just employing the government's tactics the other way around:
OMG, NSA averted a BIOS attack by working hard with manufacturers, who pushed out a BIOS upgrade to the 1% of users who could apply it. What a load of crap. Unfortunately, only FUD rhetorics seem to work nowadays...

Re:Lets call this what it is (2)

gatkinso (15975) | about 7 months ago | (#45721619)

If Brazilians want to keep using an American service, then I guess that is their problem.

Nobody is forcing them to use gmail and yahoo.... and what makes them think Google would comply? What makes them think that NSA wouldn't just hack the servers on their soil?

Re:Lets call this what it is (4, Interesting)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 7 months ago | (#45721753)

The fact that both of these companies have CEOs that would like to keep their jobs would suffice. Any CEO that would try to exit a country of size and importance of Brazil in the name of "not following local laws" where local laws are about protecting locals from spying will be gone next day.

That goes even for Google. This isn't "we're protecting users (actually protecting our source code from being stolen)".

Re:Lets call this what it is (1)

Daniel Hoffmann (2902427) | about 7 months ago | (#45721943)

I just want to add that google once went to great lengths to enable the make its search engine work with the great firewall of china. So you have a point.

Re:Lets call this what it is (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 7 months ago | (#45721873)

Re: What makes them think that NSA wouldn't just hack the servers on their soil?
GCHQ and the NSA would do this for tempest site use for NATO/embassy encryption machines. Plain text out near the machine, quality 'tested' encryption along the network.
For that you need ongoing contractors or staff with a reason for access in/near the machines over time.
Its fine if the machine manufacture is a UK/US front or tame to the needs of the US/UK gov.
After Snowden physical site access will not be like the 1950-60's for a US/UK telco/saff/gov front to just keep the "servers" flowing back to the USA/UK for sorting/storage/searching.
This makes the efforts of Brazil costly - in terms of US ground teams needing to get close to the (one) site and tap without ever been found out.
Different countries may also be under internal pressure from their respective security forces.
Where only the "foreign intelligence" and top mil staff told of the US efforts and where happy to 'share'?
Now a lot of low, mid ranking and other domestic intelligence groups, special forces know that was done to their gov/public/private telco networks...
Will they be as happy to ware two hats and just 'share' their countries future banking, science, education, mil, political and trade efforts with a few other countries 24/7?

Re:Lets call this what it is (1)

Daniel Hoffmann (2902427) | about 7 months ago | (#45721959)

I do not believe this to be the case, the government is investing in other initiatives to provide local and secure services (like email) to its government and people.

Nice (4, Interesting)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 7 months ago | (#45721449)

Say what you will about America, but there's hope here yet. If Snowden is stock, most investors have not only stopped selling, he's fast becoming a savvy "Buy".

Why bothern with the meeting? (5, Funny)

PPH (736903) | about 7 months ago | (#45721483)

Obama: "We are already aware of your concerns regarding surveillance. You don't think we didn't hear you muttering amongst yourselves beforehand, do you?"

Re:Why bothern with the meeting? (4, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | about 7 months ago | (#45721723)

The reason they had a meeting is to A) make it seem like Obama is doing something, and B) deflect blame from the president (because he is doing something).

Soon expect to see Obama decree changes that sound impressive but in effect amount to nothing (ie, some new oversight commission).

Re:Why bothern with the meeting? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45721791)

Soon expect to see Obama decree changes that sound impressive but in effect amount to nothing (ie, some new oversight commission).

The above will be the motto historians give to the whole time Obama spent in office.

I hated Bush, but I now hate Obama much more, because Bush at least had the
decency to never once pretend he was my friend before he did things I disliked.

Obama betrayed the trust of millions who he had previously duped into believing he
was a decent man. I hate to say it but we should have known better since he came
from the Chicago political scene, which is among the most corrupt in the US.

.

Re:Why bothern with the meeting? (2)

phantomfive (622387) | about 7 months ago | (#45721891)

I hated Bush, but I now hate Obama much more, because Bush at least had the decency to never once pretend he was my friend before he did things I disliked.

I don't hate either one, I just wish they both had been more competent.

Oh well, maybe our next president will be competent.

Re:Why bothern with the meeting? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 7 months ago | (#45722115)

Looking back over US/UK crypto history how any such 'events' where deflected in the past:
Good use of US/UK compartmentalization from the 1950-80's really saved the NSA/GCHQ from court/press issues.
Trials would just not be on the crypto topic and press could be brushed aside as Soviet friendly local press adding their own wild stories. i.e. simple signals intelligence that watches the Soviet Union and lots of domestic safe guards.
Any publisher, legal advice to an author would be just as comical, you can sell your creative crypto history book and 'nothing' with happen to you.
An 'insiders' book was not facing a court, its contents must be 'safe', almost fiction or Soviet friendly.
Now the world has woken up to cheap US/UK Enigma version 2.0 telco gifts. Globally most govs and telcos know where the US/UK govs got in, ex gov staff and 'other' govs, criminals will get in thanks to junk US/UK encryption.
Govs/politiicans are also aware that their own top crypto staff did not protect them from their data been 'lost' to 5 other govs, a few other govs and contracting staff and .....
So after many months expect to see a 'plan' - make PR around the docs as released (sock puppets as seen on slashdot).
Lots of spin on tainted negative stories around the docs as released (sock puppets as seen on slashdot).
HTTPS for all.... and really good encryption for .com backhaul.
The US Fourth Amendment protections will really need to to be legally memory holed (1984 book reference).
The stage is been set for a lot of PR as one or two of the more public ways the NSA/GCHQ got into the tame US .coms is looked into and now fixed.
Any mention of the 2-3 other ways will be spun as a version of the 'fixed' method. Expect see a flood of the usual sock puppet names in the press and web 2.0 with some great US privacy news :)

Re:Why bothern with the meeting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45722305)

Obama: "We are already aware of your concerns regarding surveillance. You don't think we didn't hear you muttering amongst yourselves beforehand, do you?"

My response to that would be "Good. Then you know we're not just playing politics here, we actually mean this. NSA's attacks on the core networking infrastructure of US businesses have cost investors hundreds of millions of dollars. Legal or not, that needs to end, even if that means the next administration doesn't get handed a turnkey police state. And if you look back enough, you'll see we in the tech industry aren't just muttering about you handing the surveillance infrastructure to your successor, we were muttering the same thing about Bush handing his surveillance infrastructure over to his successor. This isn't a partisan issue, and you know it, and you know we know it."

Feigned Outrage (0)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 7 months ago | (#45721491)

They're all playing for the same team...

Re:Feigned Outrage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45721703)

Incorrect, I'm fairly certain Barack is a homosexual.

Captcha: divisive

Re:Feigned Outrage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45721781)

What pure wit ol chap! How could /. survive without your ilk?

captcha: peoplewhohavedivisiveasthiercaptchaareuselesswastesofoxygen

They should talk about Internet privacy, period (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45721597)

Internet privacy is under massive attack equally from government and big business, in particular from the firms whose CEOs just whined at^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H met with the President.

Why isn't that on the agenda? Don't tell me opt in. If you make a phone call or buy stuff with a credit card then you're being tracked by businesses that sell and swap your transaction histories with other businesses.

Only big busniess is allowed to steal my info (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45721629)

Thank you Apple, Yahoo, Google, Comcast, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and Netflix. You are our greatest ally!

Re:Only big busniess is allowed to steal my info (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45721687)

It's like they say, the enemy of my enemy at least has the decency to lube up before boffing me in the bottom.

Re:Only big busniess is allowed to steal my info (4, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 7 months ago | (#45722021)

Big business doesn't feel they have the legal authority to send a hellfire missile into your living due to that data. I'm a little less worried about Netflix tricking me into renting more movies than I had intended. The two just aren't comparable.

Re:Only big busniess is allowed to steal my info (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45722219)

What if Netflix loses your credit card data? What if it reports you to the MPIAA who then sue you for downloading movies? What if Google tracks your searches and you end up in jail because someone got on your computer and looked up child porn?

Re:Only big busniess is allowed to steal my info (1)

Anomalyst (742352) | about 7 months ago | (#45722269)

Howz about sending you DVD's with subject matter that would raise your threat level to "gitmo bound extraordinary rendition" at the behest of a (cant be revealed, no records kept) National Security Letter

Re:Only big busniess is allowed to steal my info (1)

ghack (454608) | about 7 months ago | (#45722183)

I know this is a joke- but at least in those cases you can choose whether to use the companies products or make informed decisions that will protect your privacy. Facebook is optional- making phone calls is not.

Re:Only big busniess is allowed to steal my info (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45722209)

Spot on. Arguably, the four largest intelligence agencies on the planet are Google, Amazon, and Facebook in the U.S., plus Baidu in China. Microsoft is waning a tad, but remains formidable. Twitter is still small potatoes.
On the one hand we complain that the sovereigns are collecting on us while on the other we give it away to business for nothing.

It seems privacy in the modern age is a wee bit more complicated than we anticipated.

Somehow, posting as "Anonymous Coward" seems appropriate all of a sudden..

These companies don't care, it is all pretense. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45721699)

The companies are concerned about US government surveillance ONLY because
they know it will cost them money.

Otherwise the companies don't care, because if they DID care they would have
raised hell long before now. But the companies did not do that, did they ? No,
in fact they were willing servants for the swine in the government until the revelations
Snowden caused caused their positions to become unpopular. SO now these
companies are setting new records for backpedaling performance. There is not
much if any moral difference between these companies and the Nazis who tried to
claim they were "just following orders" when they were on trial at Nuremberg.

As Vonnegut would have said if he were still around :

"So it goes".

.

Re:These companies don't care, it is all pretense. (3, Interesting)

dido (9125) | about 7 months ago | (#45721987)

The only thing corporations care about (insofar as organisations are capable of caring about anything), most especially publicly traded corporations, is money. It would open a corporation to shareholder lawsuits if it were not trying to maximise their profits using whatever means available at its disposal. That is the nature of these monsters that have been created by legal instruments. If you want them to care about anything, you have to show them how much it will cost them not to care about it. In the absence of laws against pollution, it saves money for corporations to pollute, so to get them to stop polluting, laws are written that make them liable for fines when they do. A properly-written anti-pollution law will make it cheaper for a company to buy equipment to clean up or minimise pollution than to pay the fines the government exacts for violating the law. In the same way, it saved money for corporations to be compliant with the NSA, so now other countries are making it impossible for them to operate in their countries (which costs them a market and hence money) using systems that make it easy for the NSA to do its spying. It remains to be seen whether this potential loss of business or increased operating expenses will be enough to make them rebel against the NSA. To corporations, money talks and bullshit walks every time.

Re:These companies don't care, it is all pretense. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45722043)

Some did raise hell. They're prohibited from talking about it because of gag orders and "national security".

Re:These companies don't care, it is all pretense. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45722141)

Some did raise hell. They're prohibited from talking about it because of gag orders and "national security".

Prohibited ? What exactly does that mean ? Those "national security" laws
are just a means by which a corrupt government instills fear in order that it
can retain power it does not deserve to have.

A person who has courage will speak out regardless of laws or rules.

Don't believe me ? Read more history, there are plenty of examples which
actually happened in the past. ..

Re:These companies don't care, it is all pretense. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45722119)

The companies are concerned about US government surveillance ONLY because
they know it will cost them money.

Otherwise the companies don't care, because if they DID care they would have
raised hell long before now.

Bullshit. If you ran any of these companies, and had access to classified information or FISA court orders, you would be an idiot to raise hell. Revealing secrets is treason. Most people wouldn't believe you. Classified secrets are only shared on a need-to-know basis, so that no one person sees the whole picture. No one could have shared what Snowden released, because no one outside the government had even a fraction of the data.

Cisco and Canada isn't a co-incidence (1)

davecb (6526) | about 7 months ago | (#45722231)

You normally put just factories in countries other than your own. Cisco's proposing to put development in Canada, which is unheard of. Sun and IBM used to have some limited development here when developers in California couldn't be had for love or money, but that's mostly gone by now.

Re:These companies don't care, it is all pretense. (1)

Twinbee (767046) | about 7 months ago | (#45722299)

Perhaps what you're forgetting is that these companies could have been risking their own necks if they were the only company to take a stand (if say, Google first took a stance, there's no guarantee the others would follow). Snowden has managed to fan the flames for the public, and so a company's 'weigh-in' would therefore be much more effective now anyway, let alone all the companies joining forces and weighing in which is what is happening.

Also, none of the tech companies probably knew the full extent of the surveillance.

Re:These companies don't care, it is all pretense. (1)

Max Threshold (540114) | about 7 months ago | (#45722307)

Better to do the right thing for the wrong reasons, than the wrong thing for the right reasons. Obama has a long track record of the latter.

The NSA is destroying the US economy (2)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 7 months ago | (#45721805)

Period.

Look, it's getting out of control.

Tech CEOs know that.

Only idiots in DC don't know that.

RESPECT THE CONSTITUTION!

P.S.: either that or let's hope an asteroid wipes out SCOTUS and Capitol Hill at the same time.

Re:The NSA is destroying the US economy (0)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 7 months ago | (#45721879)

could you imagine? assuming everybody was in the office at the time, John Kerry would be pres since he is fourth in line after biden, Boehner, and harry ried. as jack Nicholson said in the mars attacked movie, we still got the supreme court, and one out of three ain't bad.

Re:The NSA is destroying the US economy (0)

cold fjord (826450) | about 7 months ago | (#45722123)

The NSA is destroying the US economy ...

Look, it's getting out of control. ...

RESPECT THE CONSTITUTION!

It isn't the NSA that is destroying the economy but rather unwise policies in Washington, mainly economic and regulatory. Although this administration is driving off the road on more than one issue.

The thing that is out of control is the hysteria about the NSA. The NSA itself is probably doing little different than it was 5 years ago when there didn't seem to be much of anybody saying that things were out of control, at least about the NSA.

It is one thing to respect the Constitution when you agree with what it says, but will you still respect the Constitution if it turns out to say and mean something that you don't expect, that you disagree with? That has happened many times before. That sort of thing can happen when you take the text of the Constitution and legal precedent and apply it to a situation in real life, or when new questions arise. Then you have a test to see how devoted you are to the Constitution.

There was a day years ago when some in the US fought what they considered to be tyranny by the Federal government that was crushing what they considered to be their rights under the Constitution. Their leader made a declaration that has become famous, or infamous [youtube.com] , as you will, as to their stand. Do you think they were any less certain than you about their stand? What was the outcome of that [youtube.com] ? -- The President's address [youtube.com]

Judge Leon Enjoins NSA Telephony Metadata Program in Larry Klayman Lawsuit [volokh.com]

Re:The NSA is destroying the US economy (2)

AHuxley (892839) | about 7 months ago | (#45722251)

Lack of trust goes down the entire cryptography academic/testing/science/sales/code US/UK branding.
Few have faith in US or UK gov testing of US or UK cryptography and the list covers a few sections of US and UK exports:
US or UK academic teaching of US or UK cryptography?
US or UK press reporting on US or UK cryptography?
US or UK brands testing of US or UK export quality cryptography?
US or UK brands selling of US or UK export quality cryptography?
The NSA and GCHQ wanted into cheap junk global telco and networking cryptography - the NSA set the standards, tame US brands sold it cheap and the US gov spread telco deregulation on the US telco loop pricing.
Most govs know what weak junk telco encryption results in - telco and networking access for 'all' not just a few trusted US and UK gov NSA/GCHQ 'teams' and friendly nations.
All the hardware, software, codes and sales are now tainted as expensive junk open to 'any' gov or ex staff or commercial group or criminal or faith based interests at a price.
Then you have the legal questions in the USA facing a new round of court challenges and law reform or efforts.
As for "anybody saying that things" http://cryptome.org/2013-info/06/whistleblowing/whistleblowing.htm [cryptome.org]
Thanks to Snowden, a lot of costly junk encryption can now be fixed and networks secured around the world :)

Re:The NSA is destroying the US economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45722129)

You have to be kidding, right? China became the de facto place-to-be only after NAFTA paved the way for corporations setting up shop in Mexico where there's no requirement, regulations of enforcement of human rights, child labor laws, safety or environmental regulatios. Once Wall & Bond Streets had taught chinese quasi-entrepreneurs to use the same financial leverage and their central bank had become the US largest creditor, it was no time at all before our worst-of-the-worst industries had been off-shored so that the right-sizing begun in the 90s could continue to line the pockets of "investors."

I wonder what CALPERS thinks of the Chicago School of Business now that pensions throughout the country are under assault in the name of austerity.

The NSA isn't effecting business anymore than Haliburton effects charitable contributions or international development.

Re:The NSA is destroying the US economy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45722189)

You know what's worse than that? There are billions of taxpayer dollars being poured into the NSA to cause that undesirable side effect. It's like paying a lot of hard-earned money to sabotage the economy. In this case its for the sake of poorly-documented security gains.

This is one of those "cure worse than the disease" situations.

How is this a problem for the whitehouse? (1)

HalAtWork (926717) | about 7 months ago | (#45721821)

It's a clear and unanimous sentiment. They now understand what they have to do very clearly to serve the needs of their people, their business, and their pals in the rest of the world. There are no mixed messages here. So where is the problem?

Re:How is this a problem for the whitehouse? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45722311)

It's not "unanimous". The companies that *benefit* from NSA cooperation, who get interesting federal immunity for their abuses, who get contracts, or who believe "we need to violate all our rights to protect what makes America great" are not a small voice in government circles, nor among well established government bureaucracies . And that's the problem. Obama keeps trying to get "consensus" when he should be trying for "leadership".

What would happen if... (0)

MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) | about 7 months ago | (#45721869)

When I first read the story, my instinct first instinct was to get up and say:"Mr. President I was came hear today to discuss NSA surveillance. Since that does not seem to be what will happen, I have other more important things I must do. So I will be going now. "

If allowed to leave I wonder who else would follow me. If not allowed to leave, what would the Secret Service do? Arrest me? There would be no reason to. Detain me as a danger to the president? I'm leaving not much reason their. In fact refusing to let me leave would be criminal kidnapping.

So what would happen?

Re:What would happen if... (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 7 months ago | (#45722031)

You'd never get invited back, and future legislation would likely be unfavorable to your bottom line.

Terrible President (1)

koan (80826) | about 7 months ago | (#45721993)

That they would speak to him like indicates they neither need to respect him nor do they.

I'm fine with that, he should be impeached.

Re:Terrible President (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45722283)

Yeah! He had sex with that woman!! oh wait....

spy vs spy (1)

dltaylor (7510) | about 7 months ago | (#45722075)

It's disheartening that the ( insert epithet ) that are busy commoditizing our lives are perturbed by the ( other epithet ) that are spying on us. A pox on all their houses.

Hypocrites (2)

grantspassalan (2531078) | about 7 months ago | (#45722081)

It is true and has always been that the best way to get the attention of large megacorporations, technological or otherwise, is to hit them in the pocketbook. Until Mr. Snowden came along, most of these tech companies willingly, some of them enthusiastically, cooperated with the government spies who were going to pay them considerable amounts of money. Phone companies even set aside special rooms and equipment to facilitate the spy agencies desires to scarf up terabytes of data. Now that all this has come to light, these tech giants stand to lose a fortune as others who do not wish to be spied on take their business elsewhere. How will common ordinary people ever know whether big government and big business are NOT under the same blanket, telling monstrous lies whenever it suits their agendas? Thank you Mr. Snowden!

Pragmatism intersects with idealism (1)

ghack (454608) | about 7 months ago | (#45722105)

Sometimes it seems rare that personal rights and business interests intersect- but that is happening here.

The NSA activities are really harming the credibility of the federal government and that will hurt everybody where it matters- the pocketbook.

Interesting Thought Experiment: (2)

Hartree (191324) | about 7 months ago | (#45722163)

Imagine if you were able to post a link to this discussion here on slashdot from that dim and distant time of 2008 during the election with unforgeable timestamps showing that it indeed was a slashdot discussion from late 2013..

What a shift in a lot of people's viewpoint has happened.

Just after the election in 2008, I said that the level of expectation surrounding Obama was so great Superman couldn't have lived up to it. I'll revise that now, and say God couldn't have lived up to it.

I wasn't a supporter of Obama, but it probably would have mattered less than most think who won that election. My guess is that the world situation wouldn't be radically different (might be a little better, might be a little worse), and definitely the case of NSA surveillance wouldn't be all that different. It's the result of policy decisions over the last, at least, 50 years.

We've been shown once again a truth that we seem to forget every 4-8 years in the "irrational exuberance" of campaigns.

National political leaders (presidents, prime ministers, whatever) are amazingly limited in what they really can do. The existing policies, public perceptions, politics and geopolitical realities massively constrain their options for what decisions to make.

Those offices are bully pulpits, as Teddy Roosevelt said, and sometimes can move nations with the preaching.

But, in the end, it's still limited. (And you don't want to live in places where they do have largely unlimited power.)

And, when those leaders fail to live up to what is expected (often unreasonably) by those who elected them, the backlash can be ferocious.

Witness this discussion (or some of the ones while W. was in office here on slashdot).

"Tech industry concern" is B.S., anyway (2)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | about 7 months ago | (#45722177)

The bottom line is "the tech industry" mines and sells your data (i.e., "every little thing you do"), so in order to keep their bottom line growing "the tech industry" must get the NSA's ability to mine for terrorist activity stopped before the American people force their (not "their" as in "the American people's", but "their" as in "the tech industry's") Representatives and Senators to again prioritize their Constitutional responsibilities above their bought-and-paid-for promises and outlaw all data mining as the invasion of privacy that it is.

Re:"Tech industry concern" is B.S., anyway (1)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | about 7 months ago | (#45722203)

lolll...oh, yeah: And there is some concern that what Corporate America does to make money and influence our government just might be going to hard disk somewhere.

And this was a "modern" president? (2, Insightful)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | about 7 months ago | (#45722191)

What I find fascinating is how the media had us believe that the man was elected because his campaign was the "modern" one, the one that had whole of the Internet dialed in, total control over and support of social media, and everything tech and hip on its side. And yet that same organization can't get a website running properly, particularly one that people don't get to use but have to use. And that same organization wants to deflect criticism and blame for the NSA's current methods.

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