Obama said he's consulted with companies and civil liberties groups while determining how to address public concerns about the surveillance programs. Obama met with Apple, AT&T, Google, the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups this week, according to a report in Politico.
During one meeting, the ACLU and other advocates "re-emphasized concern about the chilling effect the NSA surveillance programs have on our democracy," particularly free speech rights, Susan Herman, president of the ACLU, said in a statement.
Obama needs to take big steps to rein in the surveillance programs, she added. "While the White House should be commended for engaging outside perspectives, it's not clear yet that the White House appreciates the need to scale back these surveillance programs substantially instead of just rationalizing or tinkering with them," Herman said.
The Internet Infrastructure Coalition, with members including Google, Rackspace and Tucows, praised Obama's decision to revisit the surveillance programs. The surveillance programs need greater transparency and strong privacy protections, the group said in a statement.
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