President Obama will meet with the chief executives of several major tech companies later today. Politico reports that the discussion will revolve around privacy and intelligence gathering — much like the first private roundtable Obama coordinated with Silicon Valley’s leaders in December. In that instance, the meeting was originally supposed to focus on HealthCare.gov, but subsequent reports claimed that Obama’s guests quickly steered the conversation to the NSA and government surveillance. This time it appears the President plans to tackle the delicate subject head on. It seems today’s huddle may have been hastily arranged. It was only added to Obama’s public calendar last night, and Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is reportedly unable to attend due to the short notice executives were given about the discussion. According to The Verge, “The full guest list for Obama’s tech-oriented meeting today includes Zuckerberg, Schmidt, Netflix’s Reed Hastings, Dropbox founder/CEO Drew Houston, Alex Karp of Palantir, and Aaron Levie of Box.”
But Politico says one vocal critic of the government’s policies will be in attendance: Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. Earlier this month, Zuckerberg assailed the Obama administration for its continued lack of adequate transparency on all matters of surveillance and data collection. Zuckerberg said he has spoken with Obama personally to vent his “frustration over the damage the government is creating for all of our future.” That very public critique may have prompted the White House to arrange today’s meeting in short order.