The public attention on the field of cyber security is rising around the world and Estonia is well famous for its zeal to put innovative IT solutions into routine daily use. It is a pioneer in electronic identities and electronic voting and enthusiastically adopts mobile technology, online banking well as electronic government services. Nonetheless, with so many e-solutions and such extensive use of the internet, attention also requires to be turned to the security issue. Due to my special focus on Information Security and Digital Forensic, having reviewed the major ICT research and tertiary education institution in Estonia explicitly the Tallinn University of Technology (TUT) doctorate programs on IT general, Innovation and Business Centre Mektory both Labs and Projects that aims to gather students, scientists and entrepreneurs; solve practical product development teething troubles and generate new intelligent ideas, to inspire students’ startup companies to move forward and international Master’s program taught jointly by the two largest public universities in Estonia before heading to Estonia. Upon successful completion, the program was promising, students to receive a joint degree signed by both universities Tallinn University of Technology (TUT) and University of Tartu with two fundamental specialties namely Cyber Security and Digital Forensics, offers students with core skills in eclectic aspects of the security of information systems and specific skills in computer security occurrences and crime evidence. Such program was also providing students such an exceptional and distinctive occasion to study under high-level cyber security practitioners from Estonian banks, telecoms, law enforcement, CERT, NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Centre of Excellence and to conduct research within the Estonian Centre of Excellence in Computer Science.
ICT with increasing dynamism in recent years going through a transformation that evokes an evolution well as electronic government which we call e-government shortly internet government, digital government, online government, or connected government) involves the digital connections, interactions between a citizen and their government (C2G), between governments and government agencies (G2G), between government and citizens (G2C), among government and employees (G2E) and amid government and businesses/commerce (G2B). As is the application of information and communication technology (ICT) for providing government services, exchange of information communication transactions, integration of numerous stand-alone systems and services mentioned above.
Once being aware the above e-government concepts “e-residency compromises to every world citizen a government-issued digital identity and the opportunity to run a trusted company online, releasing the world’s entrepreneurial potential”. The Republic of Estonia is the first country to offer e-residency and I witnessed the historical moments.
As an accredited Information Technology Media and as a Judicial Expert, with the experience working in the leading telecommunication and convergence technology groups for several years on IT TELCO attended ICT week in Estonia. Noticeable, famous speakers, ICT experts, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, visionaries, government leaders and top executives as well as representatives of international organizations from all over the world are gathered for the second edition of ICT Week, that held from 8 to 15 May in Tallinn, Estonia, for the interchange of ideas, opinions and networking between ICT professionals. I, personally being honored to meet with Taavi Kotka Government CIO, Deputy Secretary General – ICT at Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications for Estonia during Norwegian day (his Public private partnership in developing e-Estonia presentation) through Estonian ICT week 2015 and Dagfinn Sørli Norwegian Ambassador to Estonia on reception hosted by again Ambassador of Norway at Ambassador’s residence. Also met with Pedro Medeiros dos Anjos Estonian Honorary Consul in Angola.
Norway Grants Green Industry Innovation Program and that program will be subject to another article pertaining the Norway-Estonia Green IT cooperation seminar I will focus on e-residence here.
As one of the the objective of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications is to form general surroundings and ambiance for the progress of the competitiveness of the Estonian economy and its balanced and vivacious improvement through the drafting and implementing Estonian economic policy and appraising its outcomes, Estonia opened e-residency to the world.
Factually looking toward information society with 80 votes in favor, the 101-member Estonian Parliament passed a law that allows issuing of electronic identification cards to foreigners living abroad, is such pivotal movement I would like to focus on e-residence. Glue Estonian’s reputation as a world tech leader.
E-residency a form of universal digital identity allotted, for the first time, by a country. It’s the online self, now with a government imprimatur. And it’s the most recent innovation from a tech-savvy nation that brought ones to Skype, the world’s first digitally signed international agreement, and an intricate national ID system that allows citizens to swiftly elect politicians and file taxes online. The Baltic republic is so wired that officials are even envisioning uploading the government’s digital infrastructure to the cloud so that it can continue operating even if Russia invades Estonia. That conjures up the image of BCP – Business Continuity Planning.
Taavi Kotka, the Chief Information Officer of the Republic of Estonia highlights how Estonia currently launches its e-residency application portal at e-resident.gov.ee, facilitating anyone in the world to partake in the public beta of the revolutionary digital identity program. E-residency is a step towards accomplishing Estonia’s ambitions of pioneering the first borderless e-society, and is the first government-backed digital identity in the world. The Republic of Estonia is the pioneering, leading country to offer e-residency, a transnational digital identity accessible to anyone interested in establishing and governing a location-free business online. Estonian e-residents can register a company online, perform e-banking transactions, access international payment service providers, declare taxes online, manage a company remotely and digitally sign documents and contracts. The streamlined application process is the upshot of an exceptional cross-governmental alliance between the Ministry of the Interior and its IT and Development Centre, Police and Border Guard Board, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Estonian embassies and consulates worldwide, Government Office of the Republic of Estonia, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, Ministry of Finance, Information System Authority, Office of the President of the Republic of Estonia ,Enterprise Estonia and others. “Estonia is the only country in the world that can move at this promptness, and one of the only governments that can be this concerted collaborative and they have a remarkable occasion there to set the standard for digital identity on the internet, and aid millions of entrepreneurs launch and grow their businesses. Due to such cross-governmental partnership, the online application is anticipated to take just about 10 minutes to accomplish. Once paying a nominal fee and concluding a background check, e-residents need merely visit an Estonian embassy or police station once to receive their e-resident digi-ID. E-residents can pick up their digi-ID in one of 34 countries around the world where Estonia preserves an embassy or a consulate, or at a Police and Border Guard Board service point in Estonia. The whole application process, from online entry to card pickup, is estimated to average just one month.”
Keynote speech by Taavi Kotka: CONT_ACT Riga conference, 6 May 2015
Besides government ministries, several private partners guaranteed the uppermost standards of website security and design, including Fujitsu, Stagnation Lab and Velvet. Their work boosted the reliability and usability of the website portal. Banks such as LHV, Swedbank and SEB, the Chamber of Notaries, Estonian Bar Association, as well as several other private sector partners are strong contributors to the growth and development of e-residency. Hitherto, the e-residency application portal was in a private alpha phase in which security and usability were broadly tested. Now, with the launch of the public beta, anyone can apply for e-residency. The program is still in development, and certain elements of establishing an Estonian company online, such as opening a bank account, necessitate a trip to Estonia. The e-residency program team is working tough to advance this process. Prospective e-residents may subscribe to the program newsletter for updates at e-resident.gov.ee.
E-residency created to cultivate the digital economy, attract new investment, and connect with new businesses. E-residency provides enormous advantages in convenience and flexibility for anyone who has an existing business or other connection to Estonia and also to provide anyone, not just those connected to Estonia, with the tools and systems to own and operate their own business. In generating this program, Estonia hopes to release the world-s entrepreneurial potential.
There are currently over 1500 e-residents from 73 countries around the world that participated in the private alpha phase during which testing was performed and two visits to the Estonian Police were required. Over half of them are from Estonia’s nearby countries like Finland, Russia, Ukraine, Latvia diligently followed by Germany, Italy, UK, Lithuania. Over 18,000 prospective e-residents worldwide have subscribed to the program newsletter. E-residency does not confer citizenship, tax residency, residence or right of entry to Estonia or to the European Union. The e-resident smart ID card is not a physical identification or a travel document, and does not display a photo.
The e-residency application portal was officially launched at Nordic Digital Day, a one-day conference about Nordic ICT innovations and reforms held during ICT Week 2015 in Tallinn, Estonia. Nordic Digital Day took place in the framework of EU Structural Funds program “Raising public awareness about the information society” and is funded by the European Regional Development Fund. ICT Week 2015 is organized with the support of the European Regional Development Fund. Over the last years the cooperation between Norwegian and Estonian companies has augmented especially when it comes to evolving new and pioneering innovative solutions within IT. Norway Grants Green Industry Innovation Program with focus on green IT, has played an important part in this development. The seminar is building on the foundation of these reputable innovative partnerships and has as its target to even further growth the Norwegian-Estonian cooperation. The seminar emphasized the best cases, competence, proficiencies and experiences found in Estonia and Norway to stimulate new solutions and partnerships. Sub categories that the seminar covered are green IT solutions within energy, transport and logistics, and tradewell as public-private partnership when it comes to e-government solutions.