Barack Obama and David Cameron fail to see eye to eye on surveillance
Nicholas Watt in Washington
The Guardian, Friday 16 January
Barack Obama and David Cameron struck different notes on surveillance powers after the president conceded that there is an important balance to be struck between monitoring terror suspects and protecting civil liberties.
As Cameron warned the internet giants that they must do more to ensure they do not become platforms for terrorist communications, the US president said he welcomed the way in which civil liberties groups hold them to account by tapping them on the shoulder.
Obama agreed with the prime minister that there could be no spaces on the internet for terrorists to communicate that could not be monitored by the intelligences agencies, subject to proper oversight. But, unlike Cameron, the president encouraged groups to ensure that he and other leaders do not abandon civil liberties.
The prime minister adopted a harder stance on the need for big internet companies such as Facebook and Twitter to do more to cooperate with the surveillance of terror suspects.