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Obama discusses surveillance

U.S. President Obama speaks about home ownership at Desert Vista High School in Phoenix, ArizonaWASHINGTON — President Barack Obama quietly met with the CEOs of Apple Inc, AT&T Inc as well as other technology and privacy representatives on Thursday to discuss government surveillance, according to a media report.

Google Inc computer scientist Vint Cerf and civil liberties leaders also participated in the meeting, along with Apple’s Tim Cook and AT&T’s Randall Stephenson, Politico said late Thursday, citing sources familiar with the matter.

The session was not included on Obama’s daily public schedule for yesterday.

The closed-door meeting followed another private session on Tuesday between top Obama administration officials, industry lobbyists and privacy advocates, Politico reported, adding that the latest meeting “was organised with greater secrecy”.

One administration aide characterised Tuesday’s meeting was as part of a larger outreach effort, Politico said.

“This is one of a number of discussions the administration is having with experts and stakeholders in response to the president’s directive to have a national dialogue about how to best protect privacy in a digital era, including how to respect privacy while defending our national security,” the official told the news outlet.

This report comes after revelations about the US government’s secret surveillance tactics detailed in various media reports from information disclosed by fugitive former US spy agency contractor Edward Snowden.

Tuesday’s meeting included representatives from tech lobbying groups Information Technology Industry Council, TechNet and TechAmerica as well as The American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Privacy Information Centre, Politico said, citing sources. (Reuters)

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