Tim Cook to Join Other Tech Execs for White House Summit on Fighting Terrorism Online

Senior representatives from major U.S. technology companies, including Apple CEO Tim Cook, will attend a White House meeting today to discuss ways to counter ISIS and other terrorist-related online propaganda and recruitment efforts, according to Reuters. Representatives from Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, Dropbox, and Google will also take part in the discussions.

tim cookImage via Reuters

Industry representatives will meet with several U.S. officials, including White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, FBI Director James Comey, National Intelligence Director James Clapper, NSA Director Mike Rogers, and presidential counterterrorism adviser Lisa Monaco.

The tech industry's relationship with the U.S. government as it pertains to combating terrorism has recently been dominated by the encryption debate, with government officials arguing that "back doors" in encrypted platforms like Apple's iMessage are needed to gather evidence and prevent future attacks, even if such a strategy would introduce inherent security vulnerabilities for all users.

While Apple has publicly opposed recent moves by the U.S. government to weaken encryption, Reuters' sources claim that today's meeting will focus on social media rather than the controversial encryption debate, however a separate report from the The Washington Post claims that encryption will be discussed, but only as a secondary issue.

White House officials are said to be primarily interested in ways that tech industry policies can be used to more effectively remove or prevent terrorist-related propaganda on social media, as well as ways to help users create and promote alternative content that can "undercut" messages from groups like ISIS. The Reuters report cites Twitter's recent policy update to prohibit "hateful conduct" as an example of partial progress in this area.

The meeting will also cover ways that the tech industry can use its own internal analytics to better identify terrorist recruitment patterns, making it potentially easier for law enforcement to identify and track terrorist operatives, although this topic will likely prove contentious for companies who prioritize user privacy.

The White House has yet to officially acknowledge the meeting, but is expected to release an announcement following its conclusion.