UPDATE 1-Obama to meet with data surveillance review group Wednesday
WASHINGTON, Dec 18 (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama will meet on Wednesday with a panel he appointed to review privacy issues related to government surveillance programs, days after the group submitted a report and recommendations on their findings, the White House said.
Obama has faced criticism from allies at home and abroad who have called for him to rein in spying activities since June, when former spy contractor Edward Snowden exposed classified details about the scope of U.S. National Security Agency surveillance of emails and phone calls.
Obama said earlier this month in a television interview that he would be "proposing some self-restraint on the NSA" in reforms that the White House has said will be announced in January.
A federal judge ruled on Monday that the U.S. government's gathering of Americans' phone records is likely unlawful, adding pressure on Obama to act.
And the president met for more than two hours on Tuesday to hear concerns firsthand from executives from companies like Apple Inc, Google Inc, Yahoo Inc and Microsoft Corp.
The executives explained why they do not want their technology used to spy on private citizens.
In August, Obama appointed five advisers to a panel as part of an effort to rebuild public trust. The panel made more than 40 recommendations, which the White House has been reviewing.
Obama will make decisions about the issue - including which recommendations to accept - in a speech in January, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters on Tuesday.
Obama's private meeting with the group will take place at 11 a.m. ET (1600 GMT) in the White House's Situation Room.
The group has recommended Obama change the NSA leadership from military to civilian, store the vast amount of data on phone calls collected by the agency at a third-party organization, and use stricter standards for searching the data, the Wall Street Journal reported last week.
The White House will release the panel's report sometime before Obama's January speech, Carney said on Tuesday. "I certainly expect it will be no later than January," he said.
The panel includes Richard Clarke, a former counterterrorism adviser in the Clinton and Bush White Houses; Michael Morell, former deputy director of the CIA; and Peter Swire, who worked on technology issues in the Obama and Clinton administrations.
It also includes Geoffrey Stone, a constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago, where Obama worked before entering politics, and Cass Sunstein, Obama's former regulatory czar, who is married to Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.