Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Google In Secret Meeting With Spy Chiefs

The executives of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) met spy chiefs from nearly seven countries in England in what has been described as a secretive meeting. The parties discussed mostly issues of government surveillance. The meeting comes at a time when Apple and peers such as Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) are fighting hard for the privacy of their users.

The stealthy meeting took place on the sidelines of a conference hosted by The Ditchley Foundation in England. The countries that participated in the talks range from the U.S. to Australia.

Topics of discussion

Some of the issues that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Google and other tech companies discussed with the spy chiefs included whether someone was being misled on the issue of mass surveillance. The parties also discussed issues about how much information the press should be able to disclose on matter of intelligence gathering. The other issue of discussion is whether spying on friends or allies or even potential adversaries is something that cannot be avoid because of national security interest.


Various spy organizations and countries such as Sweden’s FRA and the CIA were represented at the meeting, according to sources. Besides the U.S. and Australia, other countries that participated in the secret talks included Britain, Germany, Sweden and Canada.

Drive for transparency

The meeting acknowledged that leaks by former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden, had completely changed the landscape of intelligence activities by governments. One of the major changes brought by Snowden’s spying leaks is that there is a need for more transparency in government surveillance.

The meeting came at a time when Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Google and Microsoft have bitterly differed with authorities on the request to turn up private data. Apple has particularly objected the request to allow back door access to iPhones and other encrypted data it holds. According to Apple’s Tim Cook, everyone has a right to security and privacy.