Apple CEO attends Obama-led meeting about government surveillance

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The leader of one of tech’s most secretive companies joined a high-level meeting with President Barack Obama this week and other tech and privacy leaders to talk about secrecy.

According to Politico:

“President Barack Obama hosted Apple CEO Tim Cook, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, Google computer scientist Vint Cerf and other tech executives and civil liberties leaders on Thursday for a closed-door meeting about government surveillance, sources tell POLITICO.”

There aren’t many details on what was discussed, but it’s apparently just one of a series of meetings the Obama administration has held recently with tech industry representatives on the ongoing government surveillance programs — that it would much rather not discuss publicly. On Tuesday,¬†administration officials (though not Obama) met to talk privacy and surveillance with “tech-industry lobbyists and leading privacy hawks,” according to the report.

Apple was one of the major tech firms named as having cooperated with federal investigations of customers through “back door” channels into its servers. Apple has denied allowing the government access. It did publish in June a list of how many government requests for user data it received between December 2012 and June (more than 4,000). But it hasn’t offered any further explanation or detail as to how it handled those.

Cook may not have much to say publicly about what he talked about with the president. But his presence does show that Apple is increasingly receptive to playing a role in policy.

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