President Obama calls for reigning in spy programs in State of the Union

President State of the Union speech 2014
Google gets the first shout out

President Obama, in his fifth State of the Union address, outlined his agenda for the next twelve months including initiating spying policy reforms and continuing to reign in US drones.

"I've imposed prudent limits on the use of drones," touted the president in his speech. "For we will not be safer if people abroad believe we strike within their countries without regard for the consequence.

"That why, working with this Congress, I will reform our surveillance programs," he said in the wake of the seemingly endless NSA Prism leaks.

This call for reform was expected given the fact that the NSA's metadata collection of domestic phone calls has been ruled likely unconstitutional. His bringing it up in the State of the Union was not.

"The vital work of our intelligence community depends on public confidence, here and abroad, that the privacy of ordinary people is not being violated."

Patent reform, funding the next Google

The president also made a familiar call for Congress to tackle patent reform that has tied up US companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft in courts.

"Let's pass a patent reform bill that allows our businesses to stay focused on innovation, not costly, needless litigation," said Obama to applause.

He also called for the members before him to reverse their axing of research funding so that tomorrow's innovators can join these big US players.

"Federally-funded research helped lead to the ideas and inventions behind Google and smartphones," he said.

"That's why Congress should undo the damage done by last year's cuts to basic research so we can unleash the next great American discovery."

Broadband in schools

The final tech topic the president mentioned regarded high-speed broadband in schools, and in this case it looks as if something is getting done.

"Last year, I also pledged to connect 99% of our students to high-speed broadband over the next four years.

"Tonight, I can announce that with the support of the FCC and companies like Apple, Microsoft, Sprint, and Verizon," name dropping more tech companies in his speech.

"We've got a down payment to start connecting more than 15,000 schools and twenty million students over the next two years, without adding a dime to the deficit.

Last year's State of the Union featured Tim Cook and Apple's plan to bring its Mac Pro manufacturing to US shores, but the President didn't mention this success or the FCC's ongoing struggle with Net Neutrality.

Matt Swider