Obama Wants More Data-Sharing: Silicon Valley Upset

Facebook (Associated Press)
Associated Press

Suddenly, Barack Obama isn’t quite as popular with Silicon Valley execs as he used to be, primarily because they do not trust his efforts to increase the sharing of digital data between their companies and the federal government.

On Friday, the same day he signed an executive order to facilitate greater sharing, Obama is spoke at a cyber-summit at Stanford University. But Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer, and Google’s Larry Page and Eric Schmidt all decided they would not attend, choosing to send representatives of their companies instead.

Officials of the Obama Administration believe that Siliocn Valley execs are wary of the federal government’s attempts to secure more data because of the fallout from Edward Snowden’s efforts to reveal private data.

Obama reportedly wants to alter the present arrangement, which consists of info-swapping hubs categorized by industry, to hubs that will share data based on region or membership affiliation. Obama’s order also requires the Department of Homeland Security Department to support monetarily a nonprofit organization that would write voluntary standards for sharing information, and allow DHS to approve the way classified data is shared.

Privacy and civil-liberties groups have been fiercely critical of Obama’s plans, primarily worried about the expansion of liability protections for companies that share cyberthreat indicators. The provision from Obama’s administration that requires DHS to share data “in as near real time as possible” with other government agencies such as the National Security Agency, the Pentagon’s ­Cyber Command, the FBI and the Secret Service has privacy advocates genuinely concerned.

Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook last March: “The U.S. government should be the champion for the Internet, not a threat. They need to be much more transparent about what they’re doing, or otherwise people will believe the worst.”