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Obama to meet with tech leaders again over surveillance

The president will meet Friday with tech leaders to discuss privacy, technology, and intelligence, Politico reports.

Marissa Mayer meets President Obama at the White House
Last December, President Obama met at the White House with tech leaders including Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Obama plans to meet with a select group of technology CEOs on Friday to discuss "issues of privacy, technology, and intelligence," a White House official told Politico.

A full list of chief executives was not made available by the White House, but industry sources told Politico that Google, Facebook, and Yahoo had been invited to the meeting. CNET has contacted those companies for comment on their participation and will update this report when we learn more.

It will be the second meeting that Obama has held with Silicon Valley executives in recent months to address controversial US electronic surveillance programs. During a meeting in December with the president over ways to improve the beleaguered Web site, a collection of tech leaders that included Apple CEO Tim Cook, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, and Twitter CEO Dick Costolo urged the president to move swiftly on reforming the federal government's surveillance programs.

One of the chief executives expected to attend is Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, who one week ago said he telephoned Obama to express his frustration over the National Security Agency's surveillance practices. Zuckerberg's call came after documents leaked by whistle-blower Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA uses an automated system called Turbine to hack into millions of computers.

A frequent critic of the NSA, Zuckerberg wrote in an update to his Facebook page that the company he founded was working to identify flaws in others' services to "keep the Internet strong" but said that the US government needed to be "much more transparent about what they're doing."

"I've been so confused and frustrated by the repeated reports of the behavior of the US government. When our engineers work tirelessly to improve security, we imagine we're protecting you against criminals, not our own government," Zuckerberg said.

Google CEO Larry Page added his criticism on Wednesday during the TED conference in Vancouver, saying that it was "tremendously disappointing that the government sort of secretly did all these things and didn't tell us."

"I don't think we can have a democracy if we have to protect our users from the government [and] from stuff that we never had a conversation about," Page said. "We need to know what the parameters of it is, what the surveillance is going to do, and how and why."