Putin told the Kremlin-funded Russia Today television station that security and privacy goals can be accomplished as long as the government is following the law.
“Such methods are in demand,” Putin told Russia Today. “But you can’t just listen to the phone call in Russia; you need a special [court] order.
“This is how this should be done in civilized world. If it is in the framework of the law, then it’s ok. If not it is unacceptable.”
The remarks are a direct response to Obama's comments Friday, following revelations that the government is collecting data on Americans' phone calls and foreigners' Internet use, that “you can’t have 100 percent security and also then have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience.”
Through a spokesman, Putin has offered to consider granting asylum to Edward Snowden, the man who said he leaked information to the press about two classified National Security Agency programs.
The NSA is not accused of illegally listening to Americans' phone calls. The agency sought and received a secret court order before collecting information about who Verizon customers are calling and how long the calls last, which it uses to mine for patterns that could indicate terrorist activity.
Putin's remarks follow years of criticism of his government's alleged autocratic tendencies by the Obama administration. Russia banned the U.S. Agency for International Development last year and this year adopted a law that requires non-governmental associations that receive foreign funding to register as “foreign agents” following western criticism of the country's recent elections.