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President spent much of his week meeting with advisors, privacy advocates, and CEOs of top tech firms

Top tech firms like AT&T, Inc. (T), Facebook, Inc. (FB), Google Inc. (GOOG), Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), and Apple, Inc. (AAPL) are reportedly irate at President Barack Obama's administration for forcing them into spying on their customers, a move that has triggered a backlash against these corporate giants of the tech world.  

I. Tech Leaders are Mad

Microsoft and Google -- President Obama's second and third largest campaign donors -- both gave almost a million dollars to Obama alone, and more to his party's campaign funds.  Apple, meanwhile personally guide the President's social media push, a final effort of late CEO and company cofounder Steven P. Jobs.  

President Obama also received heavy funding from large corporate defense firms, which donated 2-to-1 in his favor over Republican challenger Mitt Romney.  Perhaps that's why the President supported the U.S. National Security Agency's (NSA) bid to spy on nearly every single American, lavishing the defense contractors who donated to Obama with billions of dollars in the process.

Obama and Eric Schmidt
President Obama, pictured here with former Google CEO Eric Schmidt (center), met in secret with tech leaders this week. [Image Source: Geek Daily]

The tech industry -- particularly wireless carriers -- appeared in retrospect largely apathetic about this spying as long as it was kept out of the public eye and did not affect their business.  Now that it's out in the open, they're feeling far differently about it, and are taking their warning to the President, reminding him of the funding they backed him with.

On Tuesday representatives from the Information Technology Industry Council (ITIC), Microsoft's TechNet, and TechAmerica -- which represent Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and others were invited to a meeting with the President's top advisors.  Also invited were two of the top defenders of the Constitution on digital issues, The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC).  The assembled parties reportedly met with President Obama's chief of staff Denis McDonough and general counsel Kathy Ruemmler in the Roosevelt Room of The White House.

On Thursday -- shortly following reports that the NSA was demanding master encryption keys from tech firms -- Apple CEO Tim Cook, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, Google computer scientist Vint Cerf, and other top tech leaders flew to Washington, D.C. for an impromptu chat with the President, focused on government surveillance.  Privacy/transparency advocates, such as Public Knowledge's chief, Gigi Sohn, also were in attendance.  The Thursday meeting was held under a strict veil of secrecy.

II. Democrats Turn on the President, Fearing Election Repercussions

Facing the threat of losing campaign funding -- and possibly elections -- support for the spying began to buckle to a greater degree within the President's own party this week. 

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) gave a speech at Harvard Law School on Thursday, remarking, "Trust and credibility depend on the appearance of fairness and accountability. My fear is that some of those agencies and institutions are in peril of losing it.  The purpose of the debate [on privacy] is to make sure we have both liberty and security."
 
The Senator is among the sponsors of a new bill designed to institute a new public defender to challenge requests for citizen data from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA).  

The bill would remove FISA judges' rubber stamps, in theory, forcing them to justify the permissions they're giving intelligence and law enforcement agencies.
 

The President is under pressure to pull the plug on his ubiquitous spying.
[Image Source: Reddit]

Today The Wall Street Journal was the first to report on an emergency press conference to be held by the President at 3 p.m. Friday afternoon to discuss privacy issues.  The President is expected to offer up fresh promises on transparency and accountability, based on his "friendly" discussion with his tech friends-cum-campaign donors.

Of course the President has made big transparency promises before so wariness is advised.

Sources: WSJ, Politico



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RE: Sick joke
By retrospooty on 8/9/2013 5:11:50 PM , Rating: 5
"This president has said many things in the recent past that simply weren't true or which contradicted his earlier statements."

Transparency in govt. was one of his campaign talking points that he promised. Ugh. Washington is hopeless.


RE: Sick joke
By TSS on 8/9/2013 6:21:52 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Washington is hopeless.


I didn't realise washington voted for themselves.

In the end it's not them who are to blame. The people get the government they voted for.

No i'm not saying McCain would've done better (He authored the NDAA's controversial parts Obama said he'd never use so if anything he would've done worse). I'm saying VOTE FOR A GODDAMNED 3RD PARTY!

http://2012election.procon.org/view.resource.php?r...

How about voting Green, Libertarian or Constitutional? It's impossible that any of those parties are capable of doing more damage in 4 years then the democratic party or republican party have done in the past 40. Not considering the current state america is in, with $16,9 trillion national debt, $60 trillion total debt, $125 trillion in unfunded liabilities and $220 trillion in derivatives spread over the 5 largest banks.

Just vote different for once in your lifetimes, JUST to send a message to the democrats and republicans.

Maybe it's too late to save the country but atleast you could go down in history as having realised your mistakes in the end, so the next generation might do better. Because if you don't, well i'll leave you with this quote from Christopher Titus (from neverlution, go look it up on youtube):

quote:
"And one day, one of these kids, one of these little, fat, doughy, video game playing peanut allergy having kids, One of those kids is going to be president.

Got cold in here didn't it?"


RE: Sick joke
By TSS on 8/9/13, Rating: 0
RE: Sick joke
By ebakke on 8/9/2013 7:42:04 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
The people get the government they voted for.
I wish I got the government I voted for. Unfortunately I got stuck with the gov't 50.1% of the rest of you chose. Bwamp bwamp.


RE: Sick joke
By Reclaimer77 on 8/10/2013 12:55:24 AM , Rating: 5
It's too late for that. No third party could possibly turn this beast around. Unless they improbably won the White House and both the Senate and House of Congress as well and held it for oh, lets say 20 years, and ACTUALLY do all the things they say they will.

The problem is the Government is far FAR larger and more powerful than the Constitution allowed for. There are agencies on top of agencies, that NONE of us voted for by the way, that exist illegally and hand down - and maintain - illegal mandates to the people.

No matter who you put in power, the simple truth is there is TOO MUCH power at their disposal. Now you can tell me the third party is made up of saints and angels, who would never dare use that power, but I have my doubts. They are men, are they not?

America was born of bloody revolution, and sad to say, another one will be required to save her. I can only hope I live to see it. I've always wanted to be a General :)


RE: Sick joke
By retrospooty on 8/10/2013 9:13:10 AM , Rating: 1
"It's too late for that. No third party could possibly turn this beast around. Unless they improbably won the White House and both the Senate and House of Congress as well and held it for oh, lets say 20 years, and ACTUALLY do all the things they say they will."

This is so true, and congrats for making a political post that didn't blame everything including still born puppies on liberals. LOL

The govt is way to big and is basically out of control at this point. If a true candidate of "change" were to win, he would just wind up being removed from office one way or another by the existing powers that be. Either a trumped up smear, or by a straight up Harvey Oswald style plot.


RE: Sick joke
By Reclaimer77 on 8/10/2013 11:04:14 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
This is so true, and congrats for making a political post that didn't blame everything including still born puppies on liberals. LOL


Well I just assumed that was a given :) The "progressive" movement in America, regardless of party, is largely responsible for most of our problems today.

quote:
If a true candidate of "change" were to win, he would just wind up being removed from office one way or another by the existing powers that be. Either a trumped up smear, or by a straight up Harvey Oswald style plot.


Yup. Some might say this is a conspiracy theory. But there are people in power who live to maintain the status quo. If that power were ever truly threatened, they would react accordingly to preserve such power.

It's going to take way more than a handful of "third party" candidates to make change happen. The people must rise up.

Unfortunately we seem to be going the way of Europe and the UK. Where the people are slowly inexorably moved toward a socialist state, but don't care all that much because things remain mostly the same and their quality of life goes mostly unchanged.


RE: Sick joke
By Anoxanmore on 8/12/2013 9:05:17 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
But there are people in power who live to maintain the status quo. If that power were ever truly threatened, they would react accordingly to preserve such power.


Of course there are most of them are part of large corporations. Which is why we get that crap about "can't grow the workfoce" while they maintain their record profits year after year.


RE: Sick joke
By half_duplex on 8/12/2013 9:25:03 AM , Rating: 3
Sorry, but corporations are not the big bad boogey many you would like them to be...

The state de-educated illiterate minority, the ultra-gullible bleeding heart progressives, and the slick politicians who've been BFing them hard the last 30 years are where the problem is.

None of the above have EVER worked for a large corporation... because they can't, it requires accountability, so the corporation has been their target.


RE: Sick joke
By Reclaimer77 on 8/10/2013 11:27:12 AM , Rating: 3
Oh and another thought, but if the third party stays in power long enough to effect the positive changes, they wouldn't really be the "third party" anymore would they?

*brain teaser*


RE: Sick joke
By ipay on 8/11/2013 1:05:12 PM , Rating: 2
Top notch post Reclaimer77. Completely agree.


RE: Sick joke
By ipay on 8/12/2013 2:36:54 PM , Rating: 2
No I don't.


RE: Sick joke
By Captain Orgazmo on 8/12/2013 6:18:48 AM , Rating: 2
If it comes to it, and God I hope not, there are people in Canada and around the world who will help take up the banner of freedom again. When the monetary magic trick holding up the Western economies is finally revealed, and the illusion dispelled, be thankful that North America is such a large land of incredible abundance, and we will not suffer more than we deserve.


RE: Sick joke
By NellyFromMA on 8/12/2013 10:12:44 AM , Rating: 2
Solution:

In the digital Era, the need for a republic in its exact state is by far and large much less.

Abolish the House of Representatives at the federal level as it is redundant and replace it with a digital implementation of a true democracy where citizens get to vote in-real time on issues that matter most. Keep the Senate. If Senator's move to override the expressed will of the people then they will have to justify those votes to the people more directly.

In the digital age, this seems a logical evolution of our democracy.


RE: Sick joke
By Reclaimer77 on 8/12/2013 1:07:42 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Abolish the House of Representatives at the federal level as it is redundant and replace it with a digital implementation of a true democracy where citizens get to vote in-real time on issues that matter most.


Are you freaking INSANE!?

Moving us into even more of a pure Democracy than we have now isn't the answer. You're talking about the same voters who elected Obama, TWICE! Hello?

"The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."


Winston Churchill


RE: Sick joke
By Nfarce on 8/12/2013 2:19:04 PM , Rating: 2
We are not a "democracy." We are a constitutional, or representative republic. We don't pledge allegiance to the "Democracy Of The United States."

A pure democracy is mob-rule, which is how most third world nations and other unstable nations dwell - in tyranny and suppression of one smaller group for the power of another larger group. Our Founding Fathers knew the dangers of a democracy and that's exactly why we were founded upon representation.

quote:
In the digital age, this seems a logical evolution of our democracy.


In this day in age, I am no longer surprised at the astounding ignorance of those who don't even understand the basic princilples on how this nation was founded. I'm sure it's by design in our public, government-run indoctrination camps known as schools.


RE: Sick joke
By Reclaimer77 on 8/12/2013 2:24:17 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly! /agree

quote:
I'm sure it's by design in our public, government-run indoctrination camps known as schools.


It is. American History is basically not being taught anymore in public schools, or focused on as much as it was/should be.

" Results from the 2010 gold standard of testing, the National Assessment of Educational Progress, only 13 percent of the nation’s high school seniors showed proficiency in their knowledge of American history, and only 18 percent of eighth grades and 22 percent of fourth graders scoring as well. "


RE: Sick joke
By ClownPuncher on 8/12/2013 7:24:23 PM , Rating: 2
A direct democracy would be even worse. :/


RE: Sick joke
By ipay on 8/12/2013 2:39:03 PM , Rating: 2
Layperson's guide to the constitution:

What I like is constitutional. What I don't like is unconstitutional.


RE: Sick joke
By Ammohunt on 8/11/2013 2:46:11 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'm saying VOTE FOR A GODDAMNED 3RD PARTY!


great idea to bad there isn't am even three way political split in this country. 3rd party divides only one side of the spectrum and gets leftists elected get a clue!.


RE: Sick joke
By ClownPuncher on 8/12/2013 12:30:35 PM , Rating: 2
The problem with your reasoning is that your politicians aren't any better than the lefty progressives.


RE: Sick joke
By Ammohunt on 8/15/2013 10:26:48 PM , Rating: 2
Firstly I don't have a political party that represents me and my family their isn't a truly Conservative party just Libertarian Anarchists, Republican Liberal Lite and Democrat Neo European Socialists. The lesser of the the tree evils is liberal lite.


RE: Sick joke
By vortmax2 on 8/12/2013 11:01:13 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
In the end it's not them who are to blame. The people get the government they voted for.


True. With that said, the whole system is rigged. The main stream media is the largest source of news that the people glean from. If they continue to report biased, pro-administration news then the people will never hear the real truth. Remember, there may be two sides to every story, but there is only one truth.


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