President Obama defended Friday two huge surveillance programs that record data from Americans's phone calls and foreigners' internet use.
Their revelation has outraged some citizens, but Mr. Obama said the programs have worked to keep America safer from terrorist attacks.
While he is upset that two huge government surveillance programs are no longer secret, President Obama strongly defended both.
"In the abstract you can complain about Big Brother," President Obama said, "...but when you actually look at the details, i think we've struck the right balance."
The president confirmed telephone surveillance.
The National Security Agency is keeping records of every phone connection made, billions, but not the content.
"Nobody is listening to your telephone calls," Mr. Obama said.
He confirmed, however, that the NSA is spying on the internet, but said no Americans, only millions outside the United States, are having their web use recorded, including what they say in email and on Facebook and what they watch on YouTube and Skype.
Federal judges oversee the programs.
President Obama says he kept President George W. Bush's programs going, but with better oversight, and and he says they worked.