Silicon Valley Responds To Obama's NSA Proposals

On Friday, President Obama delivered a speech outlining his proposed reforms of the National Security Agency's surveillance practices. In All Tech Considered, our weekly look at technology, we explore how the speech was received by many of the big tech companies in Silicon Valley.

Copyright © 2014 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.


This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

We begin this hour with our weekly look at technology, All Tech Considered. And we'll start with how President Obama's speech on Friday about NSA surveillance is playing in Silicon Valley. Among other things, the president called for new limits on the program under which the NSA sweeps up stored Internet communications.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Specifically, I'm asking the attorney general and DNI to institute reforms that place additional restrictions on government's ability to retain, search and use in criminal cases communications between Americans and foreign citizens incidentally collected under Section 702.

BLOCK: Well, to many of the big tech firms, the president's speech fell short. One representative for the industry called the measures thoughtful but insufficient. President Obama spoke of protecting the privacy of individuals, but he did little to guarantee the same for tech companies. In fact, he pointed out that people shouldn't only be worried about the government snooping on them.

OBAMA: Corporations of all shapes and sizes track what you buy, store and analyze our data, and use it for commercial purposes. That's how those targeted ads pop up on your computer and your smartphone periodically.

BLOCK: Back in December, eight tech giants - AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo - sent an open letter to Washington. The companies urged reform of government surveillance practices worldwide, asking the president and Congress for more transparency and oversight. In response to Friday's speech, those tech companies released a statement approving of the idea of more accountability but, they said, much more still needs to be done.

Copyright © 2014 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.