On Tuesday, President Obama is meeting with tech VIPs, as reported in a blog post by Josh Richman, political reporter at the Oakland Tribune. The meeting should be, at the very least, a photo op to bolster the president’s reputation as being a pro-technology leader.
The topics on the agenda include government deployment of technology in the wake of the disastrous launch of Healthcare.gov. They also include the “national security and the economic impacts of unauthorized intelligence disclosures.” As if that wasn’t enough on the agenda, the White House included ways that the Obama administration can partner with the tech sector “to grow the economy, create jobs and address issues around income inequality and social mobility.”
Although they are billed as being tech leaders, it’s hard to imagine how this conversation will go given the odd assortment of companies and sectors they represent. Tim Cook, the chief executive of Apple; Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer; Microsoft’s general counsel, Brad Smith’ Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg; Google’s Eric Schmidt; and Twitter’s Dick Costolo will likely talk about national security surveillance issues.
One source suggests that Obama will preview with the group his administration’s proposals on reforming the surveillance program.
But also expected are the CEOs of Etsy, the shopping site; Zynga, the game company; Netflix, as well as the leaders of AT&T and Comcast.
As one insider said, “the President is smartly surrounding himself with the titans of technology in order to communicate a seriousness of purpose when it comes to delivering government services but also basking in the glow of their validation that he is a president who ‘gets it’ when it comes to technology.”
At top, President Barack Obama seen Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)