President Obama on Friday announced a number of radical changes to the US government’s extensive surveillance programs, as reassurance that it’s striking the right balance between security and civil liberties. The most significant change will be the abolition of the current program that collects domestic phone call metadata in bulk. The President said he would be introducing a two-step process to help the relevant security agencies to transition away from their current practices. The first will ensure that the authorities only investigate phone calls that are two steps away from a known terrorist group. That’s down from three steps, which meant that a far larger group of US citizens were potentially being monitored. The second step will be for the intelligence community and the Attorney General to draw up plans for a new system that can give the US government the same reach and capabilities without collecting the large amount of metadata itself.