(Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama will create a way for companies to voluntarily share information about computer-network threats while he awaits congressional action on cybersecurity legislation.
Obama plans to announce an order setting up a framework for the information exchange as part of a White House-sponsored summit on cybersecurity and consumer protection at Stanford University in California, which will convene technical and security experts from companies such as Microsoft Corp., Google Inc., Yahoo! Inc. and Facebook Inc.
“All industry sectors and types of businesses face cybersecurity risks,” Jeff Zients, director of the White House National Economic Council, said Thursday on a conference call with reporters. “Cybersecurity is not just a cost of doing business. It’s the cost of staying in business.”
The president is trying to repair relations with the technology industry, a source of Obama’s political support and campaign donations, after a falling out over surveillance and data gathering by the National Security Agency and privacy concerns.
In one sign of the tension, Facebook Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, and Google’s Larry Page and Eric Schmidt declined invitations to attend, according to the companies. They will send their top information security executives to the summit instead. Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook is planning to attend.
White House deputy press secretary Eric Schultz declined to comment on the absence of the chief executives and said the administration is pleased with the company participation.
“We’re proud of” the cooperation from technology industry and business leaders, Schultz said aboard Air Force One. “Some of the commitments that are going to be announced in the next couple days are pretty significant.”
American Express Co. and MasterCard Inc. are among companies that will announce new authentication systems that will use technologies such as biometrics in addition to the standard username and password, according to the White House. Visa will commit to “tokenization,” a credit-card security system that replaces numbers with randomly generated tokens.
Bank of America Corp., Apple Inc., U.S. Bank NA, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and Kaiser Permanente are among companies that will announce new initiatives incorporating a security framework backed by the Obama administration, the White House said.
The order that Obama plans to announce will encourage companies to share information on Internet threats with one another and create a framework to help the private sector turn over data to federal agencies investigating data breaches. Companies would share the information, which could include the personal data of their clients, voluntarily.
The White House in January proposed legislation that would give companies legal protections for sharing information with each other and the government about hacking threats. The administration argues it’s needed to help prevent attacks like the November hack that crippled thousands of computers at Sony Pictures Entertainment.
While there is broad agreement companies should get legal protections for sharing threat data, Congress has failed to reach a deal on similar legislation in the past four years.
Obama is scheduled to give the keynote address to the summit on his approach to a growing threat to U.S. banks, retailers and other sectors.
Panels will address cooperation between companies and agencies, securing payment processing and other consumer protections and go beyond the immediate concerns of the technology, banking and retail industries to also address energy, finance and transportation concerns.
Obama will also discuss the new Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center, an agency announced Feb. 10 that will streamline information on data breaches and threats between several departments.
Obama’s trip to Silicon Valley will give him an opportunity to mend some of the frayed relations with the tech industry, said Michael Daniel, the cybersecurity coordinator for the White House.
While the industry provided Obama with support in his 2008 and 2012 campaigns, Yahoo, Facebook and Google have sought to assure their users or customers they don’t willingly turn over data to the government since revelations about spying exposed by former U.S. contractor Edward Snowden in 2013. Apple and Google have started offering smartphones that encrypt data by default even as law enforcement agencies want companies to make data available for legitimate investigations.
“The only way you can get at that is you need to have dialogue and continue to engage,” Daniel told reporters Thursday. “The president has been committed to that and will remain committed to that. And that’s part of the reason for coming out here.”
Later in the day, Obama will attend a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in San Francisco that’s expected to draw tech investors.
The event at the home of technology investor Sandy Robertson and his wife, Jeanne, is for about 60 supporters who are paying between $10,000 and $32,400 each to attend. It is Obama’s first DNC fundraiser of the 2016 campaign cycle.
Courtesy of Bloomberg.
Register or login for access to this item and much more
All Information Management content is archived after seven days.
Community members receive:
- All recent and archived articles
- Conference offers and updates
- A full menu of enewsletter options
- Web seminars, white papers, ebooks
Already have an account? Log In
Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access