Mr. Obama said it is important to protect the privacy of foreign leaders as well as that of individual Americans.
He said U.S. intelligence gathering overseas only relates to the country's national security concerns, not private conversations of foreign leaders, or any spy activity intended to benefit American companies.
Mr. Obama said the U.S. will not spy on foreigners and allied leaders unless there is "a compelling national security interest." He also is initiating a White House review of policies on so-called "big data," taking into account the -pace of technological change that has revolutionized communications worldwide.
Winding up hsi 43-minute speech, the president said, "This debate will makes us stronger."
He also noted there could be no open debate about privacy co9hncerns in other capitals, such as Moscow or Beijing.