Tim Cook spoke at the White House summit on cybersecurity and consumer protection at Stanford University on Friday, where he announced that Apple Pay would begin working with certain federal agencies beginning in September.
Cook said Apple users would be able to do things like pay for entry at America’s national parks. It will also work for users of federally issued payment cards, like those used by veterans, Bloomberg reports.
Apple’s CEO is known for visiting National Parks like Yosemite in his limited time off.
But the main topic of conversation was security and Apple products.
Apple has come under scrutiny from the federal government for the end-to-end encryption on Apple devices that prevents the government from accessing them through a “back door.”
“Everyone has a right to privacy and security,” said Cook. “We have the ability to protect people from this growing threat.”
Cook underscored the importance of cyber security, saying more than 13 million Americans were affected by cyber crime in 2013. Apple Pay is arguably more secure than credit cards in a lot of ways — for instance, the payer’s credit card information is stored within the phone and never transferred to the merchant (although Apple has it), and they have to sign in with a passcode or their fingerprint to use it, whereas anybody can use a stolen credit card.
“People have trusted us with their most personal and precious information,” said Cook. “We owe them.”