"The government would just be outsourcing the data collection to the companies," said David Sobel, a lawyer for the Electronic Freedom Foundation who met last week with administration officials on the issue. "From a privacy perspective, the result will be the same."
Many of the 46 recommendations urged by the president's review group could be carried out by Obama himself, said Benjamin Powell, former general counsel to the Director of National Intelligence.
But some of the report's key points, including amending the Patriot Act to expand the role of phone companies, could not go forward without congressional action, Powell said.
AP Intelligence Writer Kimberly Dozier contributed to this report.