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December 18, 2013

Tech executives warn of web fragmentation due to US snooping

Follows ruling by US judge that the massive collection of the US citizens' telephone records by the NSA is likely to be illegal.

By CBR Staff Writer

Executives from 15 tech firms including Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer have cautioned the US President Barack Obama that the NSA snooping could lead to fragmentation of the Internet, forcing countries to adopt own private internets to thwart snooping.

Mayer was also joined by executives from other tech firms including Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Google chairman Eric Schmidt, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith, LinkedIn vice president and general counsel Erika Rottenberg, among others.

The White House said in a statement that the group discussed the national security and economic impacts of unauthorised intelligence disclosures.

"This was an opportunity for the President to hear from CEOs directly as we near completion of our review of signals intelligence programs, building on the feedback we’ve received from the private sector in recent weeks and months," the statement added.

"The President made clear his belief in an open, free, and innovative internet and listened to the group’s concerns and recommendations, and made clear that we will consider their input as well as the input of other outside stakeholders as we finalise our review of signals intelligence programs."

The latest meeting comes after tech firms have jointly formed a ‘Reform Government Surveillance’ group to call on US government over NSA spying activities, alleging the snooping activities had damaged the trust of their consumers.

Recently, a US judge ruled that the massive collection of the US citizens’ telephone records by the NSA is likely to be illegal, labelling the technology behind the programme as ‘almost-Orwellian’.

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