Obama to meet with tech leaders after judge nixes NSA spying
President Barack Obama plans to meet with technology industry leaders, including top executives from AT&T (NYSE: T) and Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA), in the wake of a federal judge's ruling that collecting domestic phone records is unconstitutional.
U.S. District Judge Richard Leon issued a preliminary injunction against the NSA from collecting any cellphone metadata from Verizon (NYSE: VZ) accounts belonging to political conservative Larry Klayman and one of his legal clients, but left the matter open for appeal.
"I cannot imagine a more 'indiscriminate' and 'arbitrary invasion' than this systematic high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying it and analyzing it without judicial approval," Leon said in a story reported by The Daily Caller.
The NSA had argued that bulk collection of metadata helped combat terrorism and that it has received judicial approval in the past. Several similar cases are pending in other federal courts.
Carriers had, for the most part, complied with NSA requests for customer data. AT&T actually fought a request from its shareholders to disclose government requests for customer information, saying that the inquiry is an attempt to micromanage the service provider, according to a letter sent to the Securities and Exchange Commission Dec. 5, as reported by Bloomberg.
AT&T and fellow RBOC Verizon received a similar shareholder proposal in November from Trillium and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Northern California asking for transparency reports about how often they share information with the U.S. or foreign governments and what type of customer information is shared.
Obama, meanwhile, will make national security and intelligence disclosures only one part of a wide-reaching agenda that also includes how telco industry IT expertise can help the government avoid embarrassments like the healthcare.gov website rollout, a CNN story reported.
Among the leading names to be meeting with the president are Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) CEO Tim Cook and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, along with bosses from Twitter, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), Facebook, Salesforce, Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX), Etsy, Dropbox, Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO), Zynga and Sherpa Global.
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