Obama to boost 'transparency' of surveillance

President Barack Obama will Friday announce measures to "increase transparency" of US government surveillance programs, a senior official said.

Obama, who was to hold a news conference at 3:00 pm (1900 GMT), will announce measures "to increase transparency and restore public trust," the administration official told AFP.

The move comes after Edward Snowden, a former US contractor who fled to Russia, triggered a storm by revealing details of sweeping US surveillance of the Internet and telephone records.

On July 25 the House of Representatives rejected a bid to cut funding for some National Security Agency programs by a surprisingly narrow 205-217 vote, with both conservatives and liberals worried about citizens' privacy.

On Thursday, Obama held talks on surveillance with the heads of leading IT and communications companies including Apple, Google and AT&T, the newspaper and website Politico reported.

"The meeting was part of the ongoing dialogue the president has called for on how to respect privacy while protecting national security in a digital era," another official said, without offering further detail.

Russia's decision to grant asylum to Snowden triggered an angry reaction by the United States, which wants to prosecute the former contractor.

Obama canceled a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in protest, although foreign and defense ministers of the two countries went ahead Friday with a meeting in Washington.

Obama will hold his news conference before leaving for a one-week summer holiday with his family in the tony resort of Martha's Vineyard.

Congress is already on its summer break.