US President Barack Obama has attemped to silence his critics over what has been labelled ‘Big Brother’ style snooping into private lives.
He said that the programmes which gathered data on telephone and internet communications were ‘trade-offs’ designed to strike a balance between privacy and security of American citizens.
“Nobody is listening to your telephone calls. That’s not what this programme is about… But I think it’s important to recognise that you can’t have 100% security and also then have 100% privacy and zero inconvenience,” he declared.
He was commenting on media reports that revealed secret documents showing that federal authorities had been tapping into the central servers of companies like Google, Facebook and Apple to access emails, photos and other files, as well as accessing phone data from millions of Verizon phone company customers. Most internet companies have denied the government has a ‘back door’ to their servers.
The revelation has sparked debate over how far the government should go to protect its citizens from terrorist attacks.