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So much for the Obama lovefest in Silicon Valley.

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So much for the Obama lovefest in Silicon Valley. Empty So much for the Obama lovefest in Silicon Valley.

Post  fshnski on Fri Jan 10, 2014 12:43 pm

After years of being among the president's most high-profile and deepest-pocketed supporters, tech industry titans are now leading the opposition to the administration's controversial surveillance techniques.

President Obama is on the verge of announcing his national security Agency reforms, changes coming at the behest of technology companies that contend that disclosures about spying methods did as much damage to their businesses as they did to the president's reputation.

Those frustrations came to a head last month when industry leaders, such as Google's Eric Schmidt, Yahoo's Marissa Mayer and Apple's Tim Cook challenged Obama at the White House over the scope and poor oversight of the NSA programs.

The question now becomes: Do the leaders of some of the nation's most influential employers — and major Obama campaign backers — have the pull to force the president's hand or will their complaints go unheard by a commander in chief who insists such practices are essential to national security?

“Perhaps they’re not as influential as I’d like them to be,” Perry Robinson, associate general counsel for Rackspace Hosting, said of the tech leaders. “[Obama’s] not running for reelection.”

Robinson, who recently met with an outside panel appointed by Obama to examine the NSA’s methods, called self-policing the secretive, far-reaching agency an “uphill battle within the administration."

Initial reports suggest the most consequential change Obama is considering is that telecommunications companies, not the government, would store Americans' metadata.

However, Robinson said such a shift would fall well short of the type of overhaul sought by the tech industry, perhaps stoking Silicon Valley’s disillusionment with Obama.

“I don’t think from our perspective that improves things at all,” he said. “Companies don’t want to be in the business of storing that data.”


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