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President Barack Obama on Jan. 17 called on the government to reduce its collection of phone data from millions of Americans. He ordered intelligence agencies to obtain permission from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court before accessing such records.
Obama had previously defended surveillance programs as necessary tools in the fight against terrorism. But recently he has attempted to straddle the line between intelligence gathering agencies and privacy advocates.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned Wednesday that countries that spy on their allies risk destroying trust. Merkel used her inaugural address to parliament after her re-election to slam the United States and Britain over their spy programs.
"Actions where the ends justify the means, where everything that is technically possible is done, harm trust," Merkel said. "It sows distrust. In the end there will be less, not more, security."
Snowden will be one of scores of names that the Nobel committee will consider for the prestigious award.
The five-member panel won't confirm who has been nominated, but those who submit nominations sometimes make them public.
Nominators, including members of national parliaments and governments, university professors and previous laureates, must enter their submissions by Feb. 1. Prize committee members can add their own candidates at their first meeting after that deadline.
Al Jazeera and The Associated Press