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Tech leaders push Obama to 'move aggressively' on surveillance reform

Silicon Valley elite ask the Obama administration for swift changes in the federal government's spy programs after a meeting at the White House.

Richard Nieva Former senior reporter
Richard Nieva was a senior reporter for CNET News, focusing on Google and Yahoo. He previously worked for PandoDaily and Fortune Magazine, and his writing has appeared in The New York Times, on CNNMoney.com and on CJR.org.
Richard Nieva
Marissa Mayer meets President Obama at the White House
On December 17, 2013, President Obama met at the White House with top tech execs including Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

In a meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House on Tuesday, executives from top technology companies urged the administration for swift reform regarding the federal government's spy programs, according to a report by The Hill.

"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," the companies said in a joint statement, after leaving the meeting.

In attendance were a swath of the Silicon Valley elite, including Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, and Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, asked to the White House to discuss ways to improve the beleaguered Healthcare.gov Web site, as well as the government's other technical services. The execs were also invited to talk about concerns over the US National Security Agencies surveillance policies.

In a statement, the White House said, "The President made clear his belief in an open, free, and innovative internet and listened to the group's concerns and recommendations, and made clear that we will consider their input, as well as the input of other outside stakeholders as we finalize our review of signals intelligence programs."

The situation around the policies was muddied even more after a federal judge ruled on Monday that the NSA's phone surveillance program is likely unconstitutional, possibly violating the Fourth Amendment.