The National Security Agency, working with the British government, has secretly been bypassing or cracking the codes of encryption technology, according to reports published this week.
That technology is used by billions of Internet users to keep their messages and confidential information safe.
The reports are in the New York Times, Britain's Guardian newspaper, and the nonprofit news website Propublica. All are based on internal U.S. government documents.
According to the reports, the NSA has invested billions of dollars since 2000 to make nearly everyone's secrets available to the government.
The news comes after President Obama sought to quell Americans' concerns about the NSA surveillance program.
"I think there are legitimate concerns that people have that technology is moving so quick," Obama told CNN in an August interview. "What I recognize is that we're going to have to continue to improve the safeguards and as technology moves forward, that means that we may be able to build technologies that give people more assurance."