David Jackson, USA TODAY
President Obama says he understands people's concerns about National Security Agency surveillance programs, but privacy protections are working and are being improved.
While "the capabilities of the NSA are scary to people," Obama told CNN that he and his team need build confidence in programs designed to intercept terrorist attacks, not to listen to random phone calls.
"What I recognize is that we're going to have to continue to improve the safeguards," Obama said. "And, as technology moves forward, that means that we may be able to build technologies that give people more assurance, and we do have to do a better job of giving people confidence in how these programs work."
Obama cited recent evidence of privacy violations by the NSA, and noted that they were self-reported.
"They presented those problems to the court," Obama told CNN. "The court said, 'this isn't going to cut it. You're going to have to improve the safeguards, given these technical problems.' That's exactly what happened. So the point is, is that all these safeguards, checks, audits, oversight worked."
But they can also be improved, said Obama:
"We've got to do it in a way that makes sure that people know their own government is looking out for their interests, but we've also got to do it in a way that recognizes that we've got some hostile folks out there that potentially are trying to do us harm."