US president Barack Obama wants to provide more details about the NSA programmes to try to restore any public trust damaged by the Snowden disclosures.
His other measure was the creation of a high-level group of outside experts to review the US surveillance effort.
Gigi Sohn, head of public interest group Public Knowledge, said Obama’s plans were a good start, but added: “It’s going to depend a lot on Congress.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (Aclu) called the proposals “a necessary and welcome first step”.
Executive director Anthony Romero said the Aclu favours revamping all US surveillance programmes to adhere to constitutional protections.
The search for Snowden has upset US relations with some Latin American countries, China and, above all, Russia. Obama this week cancelled a planned summit in Moscow with President Vladimir Putin.