US President Barack Obama on Friday pledged an overhaul of government surveillance, acknowledging rising concerns over citizens' privacy.
Obama said he would ask Congress to review a controversial section of the Patriot Act that allows collection of telephone records and would provide for greater outside oversight.
"All these steps are designed to ensure that the American people can trust that our efforts are this line with our interests and our values," Obama told a news conference.
"And to others around the world I want to make clear once again that America is not interested in spying on ordinary people," he said.
Obama said he would ask Congress to reform Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which was passed after the September 11, 2001 attacks, that gives the government access to telephone and other records of citizens.
He also called for the start of debate in the courts that authorize surveillance, which now only hear requests from the government without hearing counter-arguments as is customary in other parts of the US judiciary.
Obama said that the administration would declassify documents on surveillance and also appoint a body of outside experts to help ensure a balance between security and privacy.
Controversy has grown in the United States since Edward Snowden, a former government contractor who has received asylum in Russia, revealed details of some of the more sweeping aspects of US surveillance.