President Obama has not gone far enough on reforms to the National Security Agency, Human Rights Watch says.
"All Obama has offered us is some vague assurance that people's communications will be listened to only if there is a national security interest at stake, which is a pretty fuzzy, broad standard," Executive Director Kenneth Roth told Reuters in an interview.
Intelligence agencies, for example, would only monitor communications of U.S. allies overseas if there’s a legitimate national security purpose, Obama said.
These changes are not enough though, Roth added.
"In none of this has there been a recognition that non-Americans outside the United States have a right to the privacy of their communications ... metadata and that everybody has a right not to have their electronic communications scooped up into a government computer," he said.
A number of Democratic lawmakers reacted on Twitter after the speech. While many said they were pleased with Obama’s announcements, some also said he hasn’t gone far enough to curb the government’s surveillance activities.