Cybersecurity Summit: Obama, Apple CEO Announce Private-Public Integration

The White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection highlighted the state of increasing cyber threats and news of cooperation that spans sectors in the form of an information-sharing order.

by / February 13, 2015

At Stanford University’s Memorial Hall on Feb. 13, leaders of state and industry came together to discuss the growing trend of cybercrime and to make an announcement. At the White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection, President Barack Obama announced a plan that will allow companies and the government to share information that would help fight attacks like the one against Sony last year.

"Government cannot do this alone,” Obama said. “The fact is, the private sector cannot do this alone either, as government has the latest information on threats. Today I'm once again calling on Congress to come together and get this done."
 
The president announced that he is issuing an executive order that calls for the creation of new organizations to facilitate information sharing across the tech, finance, health-care and energy industries. The new organizations, called Information Sharing and Analysis Centers (ISACs), will be authorized by the Department of Homeland Security to share classified information across business sectors that could help thwart cyberattacks. The president’s order will also fund the creation of a nonprofit to develop voluntary standards for ISACs to follow.
 
The president’s 2016 budget proposal contains a request for $14 billion to increase national cybersecurity efforts. The day’s announcement follows another recent announcement under the federal administration to create a new cyber threat analysis center called the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center (CTIIC).
 
Among the summit’s events was another announcement of the public-private variety. Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that Apple Pay, the tech giant’s smartphone payment system, will soon be useable for some government transactions, like paying for entrance to the country’s 58 national parks. Cook emphasized the benefits of Apple Pay over credit card, including enhanced security, one of the summit’s themes.
 
“History has shown us that sacrificing our right to privacy can have dire consequences,” Cook said. “We still live in a world where all people are not treated equally, too many people do not feel free to practice their religion or express their opinion or love who they choose, a world in which that information can make the difference between life and death. If those of us in positions of responsibility fail to do everything in our power to protect the right of privacy, we risk something far more valuable than money: We risk our way of life.”
 
Also in attendance at the summit were secretaries of Homeland Security and the Department of Commerce, and CEOs of American Express, Kaiser Permanente, AIG and Pacific Gas & Electric, among others.
 
The president’s increased attention on cybersecurity follows industry trends. By 2020, 60 percent of digital businesses will encounter devastating service failures due to an inability to handle the threats presented by new technologies, according to Gartner. The cybersecurity market is growing, too, as Gartner also reported that the worldwide cybersecurity software market had increased to nearly $20 billion by 2014.
Colin Wood former staff writer

Colin wrote for Government Technology from 2010 through most of 2016.