Obama Meeting with Tech Leaders About NSA, Healthcare.gov

Obama Meeting with Tech Leaders About NSA, Healthcare.gov

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After reports of the NSA using videogames to spy on people, President Obama and technology giant representatives will meet to discuss the intersection of technology and government.

President Obama will address the problems of government surveillance with many representatives from the technology industry today. In addition, he will look to technology leaders for assistance in the healthcare.gov website and similar rollouts that were problematic in implementation.

One week ago, Edward Snowden revealed the NSA has been spying on World of Warcraft, Xbox Live, and Second Life since 2008 for government surveillance. Several technology leaders immediately led a request for reform of government policies on surveillance. Obama will sit down with Apple's Tim Cook, Google's Eric Schmidt, and executives from Twitter, Microsoft, Facebook, Salesforce, Netflix, Etsy, Dropbox, Yahoo, Zynga, Sherpa Global, Comcast, LinkedIn, and AT&T, a White House official said.

The meeting follows a federal judge's preliminary ruling that the government's collection of domestic phone records is unconstitutional.

Obama will also discuss the problems of healthcare.gov, the federal government's website created under the Affordable Care Act to sign up for healthcare and compare different insurance plans. The website launched to serious technical problems, resulting in few people enrolled in healthcare plans. Shortly after the repeated problems, Obama noted the website's slowness and glitches and said his administration would put together a "tech surge" to address the problems. In today's meeting, Obama will likely look to technology leaders for suggestions on how to rework the website. For a healthcare plan through the website to begin by the new year, people must enroll by Dec. 23, so time is of the essence.

Obama also intends to partner with the technology sector for the growth of jobs.

Source: CNN


I get that this is a gaming website but this article really makes it sounds as if it's the WoW and Second Life spying that's what this whole meeting is about. That that event prompted Microsoft and Google to ask for reforms.

I realize it's not in the language exactly but the implication seems definitely there and makes the whole article seem rather disingenuous and small-minded.

The issue is a tad bigger than just games and I feel the article should reflect that honestly, even on a gaming website.

Is anybody really going to believe the corporate giants when they say "No, seriously, this time your private information is totally secure"

It's not like they don't already circle around the constitution until something becomes legal anyway. There's a reason America calls it's relation to the UK "special", they just spy on each other and trade all the personal data they collect.

I like that the wording of the article makes it sound like Obama summoned the greatest minds of the IT business to help him fix the bugs on his website.

They should have hired tech experts to build the thing not michelle obamas failed friends to build it that fd the same job up in canada.

And congress should actually do the oversight they were supposed to do, then the nsa would not have been able to run amock.

Course maybe we need something other a crooked career chicago politican running things, dur.

This seems allot more like posturing than actually being something that'll matter when it's all said and done.

Then again, I'm also a life-long pessimist, so... hopefully I"m wrong.

Government and some of the biggest companies in America sitting down to "talk"?

Yeah, I'm TOTALLY sure that the central issue that will be discussed is the rights and welfare of the common consumer.


If you can't tell I'm rolling my eyes really hard at the computer screen.

Yeah so now that they've A: gotten caught with their hand in the cookie jar your government is suddenly worried if their actions were constitutional or not. Whereas before hand they didn't give a fuck as they had no intention of you ever finding out about them. And B: now that their new hastily drafted government run health care system is proving to be as incompetent as any other government run project they are wasting EVEN MORE of your tax dollars to fix what should have never been broken in the first place. And you should all be bloody grateful.

I'd say you have my sympathies Americans, but since so many of you happily say "Thank you sir! May I have another?" every time your current bureaucracy shits in your mouth, I no longer feel the blame exclusively belongs on your government's shoulders.

Great, so we get a bunch of overpaid assholes together to "talk" about the concerns of the average US citizen, when they think everyone still wants to share their life online as long as it's Facebook watching and not the government. This might lead to something good, but it's mostly a PR to make people think they care. If they really want to make a difference they should record the meeting and post it on several sites and listen to the intelligible comments.

Given the high threat environment we live in nowadays I'm not really all that upset about government spying, I'd actually be more concerned if they weren't doing it. From my perspective the government being unable to do what it needs to do in today's world to protect itself and it's people without running into trouble from the constitution is more worrying than anything, and shows that certain key areas of the government and civil rights need to be entirely reworked to fit in better with modern threats and technology.

Most people today tend to forget how absolutely horrifying it was when 9/11 happened and the US government had no idea who even attacked us. Today everyone likes to pretend we knew it was Al Qaida, but we didn't. The government was jumped all over for that, and of course now that it's doing what needs to be done to not be caught blind sided like that again, it's being jumped all over from another direction.

At the end of the day anyone who things that the government really gives a crap about what they say on twitter has an inflated sense of self importance. The government, even with all of the database technology in the world, does not have some shadowy spy listening in on your phone calls. YOU simply are not that important. Likewise, I could really give a crud about whether or not the government has been monitoring MMOs, if some spy wanted to listen in on my guild chat once in a while I hope they were entertained, personally one day I hope to query the CIA about their thoughts on end game strategy for some of my old favorites. :)

See, the thing is that the principle of wanting complete and total privacy is nice, but at the same time we've already seen why that can't be. We've also been warned that all of these glorious technological developments were going to be a double edged sword, as the more power that winds up in the hands of individuals, the more effort that is going to need to be made to protect everyone from that power. When the bad guys can do massive damage with technology which to you is just a fancy toy or convenience device, some regulation needs to take place. We're kind of in a position where for society to function we're left with the choice of either banning technological development to avoid these kinds of issues, or adapting society to police the new concerns, which can include being forced to re-evaluate pre-existing conceptions of privacy, and right and wrong.

I know a lot of people disagree with me, and hey, as a Republican I really hate big government myself, but I do have to have my priorities in order to an extent, and having seen the costs and actually remembering them, I'm willing to err on the side of caution.

Of course a big part of this comes from the simple fact that most of the current disputes are entirely subjective, I mean the kinds of games and stuff we had know were the stuff of science fiction when I was a little kid, ditto for a lot of the technology and communication devices and such. I'm all for limits on the government breaking into your house and placing bugs directly and stuff, and feel the laws we had there works well. On some levels arguments about having become less free because the government is paying attention to communications devices that didn't exist a couple decades ago just seems kind of silly to me. People got by for a long time without cell phones, twitter, wide scale web use, and similar things so I don't see them as some kind of special entitlement or something that old laws were intended to apply to. New toys might not be entirely secure and the government pays more attention to them... okay fine, I can deal with that. Anyone with a newspaper is now aware of it too, so just keep it in mind, and carry on, it's not like you were ever going to notice anyway.

That's my thoughts, as much as a lot of people don't like them.

*The snip to end all snips*

I'm sorry, but I just cannot agree with the notion that we should be trading away several key rights and restrictions on the government in order to maybe stop another 9/11. While people do like to abuse (and misquote) Benjamin Franklin's famous quote on the matter, I do believe in the idea that trading essential liberties for temporary safety is a terrible idea. Giving the government unfettered and unquestion access to everything we do in our lives without proper oversight in the hopes of maybe stopping a terrorist attack is, as far as I'm concerned, doing just that.

While times indeed have changed on an unprecedented scale since the late 1700's, one thing that has not changed at all is basic human nature. As conspiratorial as it sounds, recorded history has proven time after time that the old "power corrupts" adage rings very true, and the United States' founders deliberately designed the government with counteracting and limiting what corrupt government officials can do by ensuring that the nations citizens had some degree of oversight / control over it's government. Removing necessary oversights like needing a public court order - which requires some degree of actual evidence that a crime may be committed - in order to spy on somebody completely goes against what said government was designed to do and leaves the entire system open to abuse by said corrupt officials. Once again I know it sounds conspiratorial, but history (and even the present day) is filled with people in positions of power abusing it and living by Machiavellian principles, and no amount of new technology is going to change that.

Now I'm simply making an assumption here based on what you seem to be implying, so feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but you also seem to be under the belief that those who have nothing to hide have nothing to fear. If so, then you couldn't be more wrong and there are countless people far smarter than I who have torn that argument to shreds time and time again. While I cannot possibly explain it as well as they could, I'll try to summarize one of the big issues with that notion: the obvious case of one-sided trust - that those with far more power and capability to actually do wrong are expecting those who don't to trust them completely without showing any trust in return. Not only is that highly hypocritical and not how trust works at all, but as you yourself put it - we're unimportant. It'd be far harder for one of us to do something terrible like mass murder or wide-scale discrimination than it would be for any part of a government. So why is it that we're the ones not being trusted and being constantly monitored? Why are we, the unimportant, being expected to trust someone who is and clearly doesn't trust us?

Lastly, this whole ordeal with the government constantly spying on everyone and everything with the ever-present fear that someone is out to get them is the textbook definition of paranoia. The fact that even thirteen years after 9/11, we're still so afraid of groups like Al-Qaeda that we constantly trade away our constitutional rights that our culture has revered so highly for centuries in order to possibly stop them says, to me at least, that as terrorists Al-Qaeda accomplished exactly what they wanted - to make us deathly afraid of them. I expect some flak for saying this, but I firmly believe that it's well past time that we moved on from 9/11. As big of a tragedy that it was (I do not intend to downplay that in the slightest), it's straight up unhealthy for anyone to cling to the tragedies of the past like we have been or to live life in constant paranoia. In my opinion, it's time we stop revolving our lives around terrorism so much and start focusing on getting our own issues sorted out (such as the over 17-trillion-dollar national debt). Not saying that all national security measures should be removed, but we shouldn't be going as far with them as we have been.

Except when the patriot act was put in congress had strict oversight, the spying was much more focused in scope on you know actual suspects, was not until obama took office that either the white house or the congress just skipped the whole oversight bit and let them go nuts.

Recall when anon posted that supposed fbi files with a ton of apple user meta data on it. How they blew it off as fabricated.

Snowden comes out and reveals the scope of the spying going on and documents a number of abuses due to it.

White house plays dumb.

Congress acts shocked.

Who is calling the shots in washington? who ordered all this to go on? who skipped all that pesky reporting to congress stuff, why was congress not more demanding in the first place of finding out what the hell was going on over there.

They denied everything up and down, then came out and say well its for your own good.

What a load of bs if i ever heard of it, if they were so proud of all this they would have come out and publically debated it, seems a pretty big deal mass gathering meta data on the vast majority of your citizens for their protection.

No we need a "traitor" to even bring this to light.

The amount of data they can mine out of cell phone records location data is well beyond the scope of the government powers to know where you are and a general idea of what your doing practically ever minute of your life.

Orwell would be so proud of you all saying "oh well i do not mind they promise it makes us safer."

You know what? Lately armed forces and national guard have been conducting exercises around major cities in riot control exercises, they are practicing for mass riots within our nation, or seizing control of major cities.

What a better tool to have then to have every one profiled, categorgized, know their daily habits and vices, you know what doors to knock on first if your going to impose martial law or put down riots.

Do we even recall the tapping by this white house of press laptops and phones?

If you think they are doing this stuff to make you safer, i have a bridge i want to sell you.

Now we have a nation that has 17 trillion in debt, we have a currency that is increasingly more inflated, because our debt is so large noone wants to buy it.

Not a huge deal we are printing money to cover our debt spending at the moment cept printing more money once again increases inflation and makes the currency less valuable, basic economics 101.

As we cannot move our junk debt by selling bonds, we are stuck in printing ourselves out of our debt spending.

What a nice cycle we have set up here.

One big sticking point however, we can only print ourselves out of debt because of our protected currency status, the world is increasingly fed up with our debt spending and our low value of the dollar, which will continue to get worse as time goes on, see above. China, russia,and france have championed the removal of our protected status as the world currency, and there are currently several proposals as replacements of the us dollar as the currency.

You do the math what would happen overnight in this nation if our status was removed, our economy would crash way way way worse than anything during the banking crisis or the housing bubble or the internet bubble. Our government would not be able to print its way out of debt anymore and could not even come close to affording its running costs.

Any wonder why all the war games around major cities?

And in related news, our wonderful all knowing wise president hijacked the great IT summit to sell health care and not talk about privacy concerns at all. Brilliant just brilliant.

All things considered, I can honestly say this is the most interesting thread I think I've ever read on this site. Kudos to all those who can argue such a complicated and sensitive topic and not make it sound like a bunch of children complaining about something they're not really sure of.

I'm still trying to wrap my head around all the strange angles of this story and you guys bring up some interesting points.


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