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Apple Pay To Become Accepted Payment Method For Federal Services

Speaking at the White House summit on cybersecurity, Tim Cook announced that starting this September, iPhone users will be able to pay for federal services using Apple Pay. Initially, those services will include admission to national parks and other similar services. Later, the company intends to make Apple Pay work with more security-sensitive services such as social security services and veterans' pensions.

“We're excited to announce that beginning in September, Apple Pay will be available for many transactions with the Federal Government, like for example when you pay for admission to your favorite national park," Cook said at the Stanford event. “We're also working to make sure credit and procurement cards issued to government employees for their expenses can be used with Apple Pay, and we're working on initiatives with leading banks and networks to use this technology with benefits programs like social security and veteran's pensions that serve citizens at both the state and federal level."

Tim Cook also said that Apple is working with the U.S. government on making things such as driver licenses and passports digital, while still preserving the kind of strong privacy Apple Pay users get right now.

Apple Pay is the most privacy-oriented payment method out there because it uses unique tokens for each payment instead of the credit card number, which means merchants can't track multiple purchases from the same customer.

Touch ID is also one of the most secure identification methods in the world right now, while still being very easy to use. One thing Apple has done differently than other fingerprint-based solutions is that it doesn't store the fingerprint data on the device. Instead, a hash of the fingerprint data is created, and that is what's stored in a hardware-based "Secure Enclave." By using this method, Apple ensures that the fingerprint data can't be stolen from the device, even if the Secure Enclave is hacked.

Although having Apple create such a strong relationship with the government for federal services may end up marginalizing Android users for some time, it's probably better for everyone in the long term that it's Apple setting these strong security and privacy standards. If there was any other company, those standards could be much lower.

Apple may get a head start in adoption for federal services, but it's not going to monopolize digital identification for federal services. Sooner or later, the government will have to allow competitors to integrate with the government's systems, too, but by then they'll all have to embrace the high security standards Apple has paved before them.

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  • kep55
    OH BOY! One more way to see your money and identity disappear into the ether.
    Reply
  • Raquel Channing
    15288250 said:
    OH BOY! One more way to see your money and identity disappear into the ether.

    dont forget your tinfoil hat.

    Reply
  • canadianvice
    "If it was any other company those standards could be much lower".

    Oh, so like Apple? They sell your phone number here to third parties. Fun.
    Reply
  • jasonelmore
    apple doesn't sell phone numbers. I think they make enough billions off of device sales to not worry about peddling phone numbers for a .50 cents a pop.
    Reply
  • Rattenmann
    @kep55
    So you think paying with a plastic card that has your name, adress and SECURITYNUMBER right on the back is more secure then?

    @canadianvice
    As much as i hate Apple for some stuff they do. Are you serious? They have more money then they can spend. Do you really think they would sell phone numbers for some change money and risk their reputation? Get real. Seriously.
    Reply
  • captaincharisma
    considering how hackers were easily able to hack into apples icloud this is going to be an epic fail
    Reply
  • kep55
    Actually, most in store CC readers are on dedicated lines and not running over the internet. At the stores that care about customer service.
    Reply
  • canadianvice
    15292268 said:
    @kep55
    So you think paying with a plastic card that has your name, adress and SECURITYNUMBER right on the back is more secure then?

    @canadianvice
    As much as i hate Apple for some stuff they do. Are you serious? They have more money then they can spend. Do you really think they would sell phone numbers for some change money and risk their reputation? Get real. Seriously.

    It's established in the fine print, so yes, I do. That said, my comment begs minor correction: they reserve the right to do so. I have no factual information proving they actually have.
    Reply
  • ethanolson
    Apple should create Apple Pay for Android and sell it for $35. Yes, there will be prerequisites that will prevent most (actually all) current devices from meeting the minimum requirements but in three years, everyone will be doing it.
    Reply
  • M0j0jojo
    Whats next Ivote? Looks like Apple maybe heading in the direction of 1984
    Reply