The White House on Friday brushed aside concerns that some of the country's top tech CEOs have declined invitations to attend President Obama’s inaugural cybersecurity summit at Stanford University.
The decisions by Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer, Google’s Larry Page and Eric Schmidt and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg to skip the summit have been interpreted as evidence of frustration within Silicon Valley over National Security Agency surveillance programs.
Companies have expressed frustration that the government’s snooping programs rely on their wares, and denounced the president’s call for government backdoors in encrypted communications technology that would allow the tracking of users by intelligence agencies.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest acknowledged “a lot of issues here where there are some differences,” but said that ultimately, the interests of technology firms and the government were aligned.
“I'm confident that these companies don't want terrorists and other people with bad intentions using their technology to harm people,” Earnest told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
Earnest also noted that Apple CEO Tim Cook would be participating in Friday’s cyber summit, where the president will sign an executive order establishing information centers that companies can use to share data about cyberattacks with the government. The move is intended to spur lawmakers into taking up the White House’s proposed legislation, which would offer firms liability for sharing with the government information about online threats.
“A real key to effectively responding to intrusions, is we want to make sure the private industry, when they notice an intrusion, that they're actually sharing information about that intrusion with other companies so that they can actually steel their defenses to prevent that attacker from using the same technique to try to intrude on their network, too,” Earnest said.
A spokesman for Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerLobbying world A new kind of hero? Last week's emotional TV may be a sign GOP up in arms over Cheney, Kinzinger MORE (R-Ohio) said the president’s executive order “will not solve America’s cyber problems.”
"The President should work with Republicans to enact the types of common-sense measures that passed the House twice in recent years with strong, bipartisan majorities but stalled in the Democratic-controlled Senate,” said BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerLobbying world A new kind of hero? Last week's emotional TV may be a sign GOP up in arms over Cheney, Kinzinger MORE aide Cory Fritz.