White House cybersecurity summit to feature address from Apple CEO Tim Cook

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Apple's chief executive will reportedly be among those speaking to participants at Friday's White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection, an event designed to bring together representatives from all sides of the cybersecurity and privacy debate.

At the summit, President Obama is widely expected to discuss his new cybersecurity "executive action" which will call for, among other things, increased cooperation between U.S. technology companies and the Department of Homeland Security's National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center. Cook's participation in the event was first noted by The Hill.

It is unclear exactly what role Cook will play, but several of the scheduled panels fall within the scope of his interests as Apple's CEO. Among those are a discussion of public-private collaboration for cybersecurity, improving cybersecurity practices at consumer-oriented businesses and organizations, promoting more secure payment technologies, and improving authentication by moving beyond the password.

Cook is uniquely positioned to speak on the latter topics. Apple Pay, the company's NFC-based mobile payment system, is designed with a number of security and privacy safeguards including network-level tokenization and biometric authentication via Touch ID.

Apple has also opened Touch ID itself to developers, allowing those who wish to eschew password-based authentication to do so by tapping into the iPhone and iPad's on-device fingerprint authentication. Numerous companies have adopted the system for their iOS apps, including financial firms like American Express.

The White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection will be held on Friday, Feb. 13 at Stanford University.