Obama to meet tech chiefs to discuss cyber surveillance

US President Barack Obama makes remarks as he and his family attend a taping of the Christmas in Washington television benefit program at the National Building Museum in Washington on Dec 15, 2013. US President Barack Obama will on Tuesday, Dec 17, 2
US President Barack Obama makes remarks as he and his family attend a taping of the Christmas in Washington television benefit program at the National Building Museum in Washington on Dec 15, 2013. US President Barack Obama will on Tuesday, Dec 17, 2013, meet bosses of tech giants including Apple, Facebook, Google and Twitter to discuss US spy agency surveillance and his notorious health-care reform website. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President Barack Obama will on Tuesday, Dec 17, 2013, meet bosses of tech giants including Apple, Facebook, Google and Twitter to discuss US spy agency surveillance and his notorious health-care reform website.

A White House official said Mr Obama would talk to the Silicon Valley chieftains about progress in repairing the glitch prone website Healthcare.gov which has hampered the rollout of his signature domestic initiative.

"The meeting will also address national security and the economic impacts of unauthorised intelligence disclosures," the official said, adding that Mr Obama also wanted to discuss how the tech sector could help unleash new economic growth and job creation.

Top executives at the talks will include Ms Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook, Mr Tim Cook of Apple, Ms Marissa Mayer of Yahoo, Mr Eric Schmidt of Google and Mr Dick Costolo of Twitter.

Mr Obama is familiar with many of the people who will be in the meeting - a number are high profile and wealthy supporters of his political campaigns.

But the revelations of a massive US spy snooping programme on the Internet, leaked by fugitive US intelligence analyst Edward Snowden, have strained ties between the White House and the US tech sector.

Eight leading US-based technology companies last week called on Washington to overhaul its surveillance laws following the revelations of online eavesdropping in an open letter to Mr Obama.

"The balance in many countries has tipped too far in favour of the state and away from the rights of the individual - rights that are enshrined in our Constitution," they wrote.

Mr Obama was last week handed a report by a panel he charged with examining the National Security Agency spy programmes and aides say he will propose some restraints on snooping on Internet and telephone data in the New Year.