SAN JOSE, Calif., June 7 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Friday staunchly defended U.S. government programs conducting surveillance of Americans’ phone and Internet activity, insisting that they were conducted with broad safeguards to protect against abuse.
“Nobody is listening to your telephone calls. That’s not what this program is about,” Obama told reporters on a visit to California’s Silicon Valley. He insisted that the surveillance programs struck the right balance between keeping Americans safe from terrorist attack and protecting their privacy.
The Washington Post reported late on Thursday that federal authorities have been tapping into the central servers of companies including Google, Apple and Facebook to gain access to emails, photos and other files allowing analysts to track a person’s movements and contacts.
That added to privacy concerns sparked by a report in Britain’s Guardian newspaper that the National Security Agency (NSA) had been mining phone records from millions of customers of a subsidiary of Verizon Communications.