Interac announced it has entered into a strategic transaction to acquire the exclusive rights to SecureKey Technologies Inc. digital ID services for Canada. Here are five things you need to know about the transaction.
1. What does this acquisition include?
This strategic acquisition includes SecureKey’s Canadian digital ID business contracts and an exclusive Canadian license of its digital ID intellectual property.
This includes Verified.Me, a first-of-its-kind digital ID verification network built on distributed ledger technology, and Government Sign-In by Verified.Me (formerly known as SecureKey Concierge), a secure sign-in tool for accessing over 280 government services.
These services currently enable Canadians to connect with and access online services offered by banks, governments and other organizations via a privacy-enhancing identity and authentication network using a digital credential they already have and trust.
2. What does this mean for digital ID in Canada?
With this transaction completed, there is a significant opportunity for meaningful acceleration of the development of comprehensive digital ID solutions in Canada. This includes enabling Canadians to utilize their most commonly used documents (e.g. driver’s licences, health cards, passports) digitally to verify their identity and access a range of services with convenience.
By leveraging SecureKey operations, technology and ongoing innovation capabilities, Interac will build secure digital ID and authentication services to help drive the growth of Canada’s digital economy. The suite of digital ID services will also be key strategic enablers for priority initiatives in Canada such as open banking and payments modernization.
3. What does the transaction mean for Interac?
This transaction ushers in a new era for Interac to offer digital identity services for Canadians, building on our history of providing secure and convenient payment and money movement solutions. Leveraging SecureKey’s expertise and its track record in this space, Interac will drive the evolution of digital ID services in Canada while prioritizing security, privacy, and inclusivity for all Canadians. We will work with government and the private sector to deliver digital ID capabilities that enable access to digital commerce and government services, while ensuring strong privacy and fraud protections are in place.
4. Why is Interac, well known for its payment services, such as Interac Debit, and Interac e-Transfer, interested in digital ID?
Interac stands at the intersection of three important trends: an ongoing acceleration in the use of digital payments, as demonstrated during the COVID-19 pandemic; the need for safe and secure identification that respects privacy and enables wide access to digital commerce and government; and enabling access to digital services for securing high-value transactions which require two or more pieces of physical identification. Each of these trends informs our view of the necessity of digital ID for Canadians.
This transaction follows the acquisition of 2Keys Corporation by Interac in 2019, a Canadian leader in digital identity and cybersecurity. The transaction with SecureKey will position Interac as a leader of digital ID in Canada, capable of working with both the public and private sectors to provide secure online service delivery for Canadians.
5. How will Interac protect Canadians’ personal data and privacy when using digital ID?
Interac has empowered Canadians to transact with confidence for nearly four decades by facilitating the secure exchange of money between businesses, consumers and their financial institutions through world-class privacy, fraud mitigation, governance, and digital authentication expertise. We see many similarities when it comes to the application of digital ID in our society.
Data abstraction is an important concept that should be considered in any digital ID ecosystem. For Interac, the use of an abstracted value instead of a customer’s bank account information to make a payment is a vital step to protect against fraud, and this same approach has relevance in the domain of digital ID. The ability to share only the minimum amount of information required to access a service or complete a transaction is also important for digital identity to be fit for purpose.
For example, when a customer shows their driver’s licence to verify their age, they shouldn’t need to provide their address. This type of control must be built into the user experience, so the consumer only needs to disclose information that is essential to complete the transaction, thus protecting their privacy.
Moving forward, Interac will continue to build its digital ID capabilities while prioritizing the principles of interoperability, security, privacy, and inclusivity for all Canadians.