Its government is virtual, borderless, blockchained, and secure. Has this tiny post-Soviet nation found the way of the future?
The most advanced digital society in the world is a former Soviet Republic on the edge of the Baltic Sea
Big Brother does “just want to help” – in Estonia, at least. In this small nation of 1.3 million people, citizens have overcome fears of an Orwellian dystopia with ubiquitous surveillance to become a highly digital society.
The government took nearly all its services online in 2003 with the e-Estonia State Portal. The country’s innovative digital governance was not the result of a carefully crafted master plan, it was a pragmatic and cost-efficient response to budget limitations.
For a snapshot of how we might all be living tomorrow, there are few better places to visit than this picturesque city of 400,000, whose winding medieval alleyways offer an elegant contrast to its digital present. Creating the future now, as Heinla puts it, is Estonia’s driving project, and increasingly it is its core business too.
An Estonian shares his country’s strategy for navigating the digital world.
Full marks for convenience, simplicity, and efficiency. But what about the dangers of nameless bureaucrats accessing your personal data? Isn’t there a risk of future governments abusing the system and using your intimate details against you? Isn’t this inviting an Orwellian nightmare?
Estonia says no. Unlike an authoritarian state like the old Soviet Union, government transparency is built into the system. While all your private data is online, only you can give permission for any data to be accessed. And you can check who has accessed what. If a doctor you don’t know has viewed your records, it will be traceable, and you can have them sacked. As one software developer Quartz spoke to said, “You become your own Big Brother.”
Analyst Charles Brett is a fan
A national identity scheme goes global
A security flaw in the chips used in Estonian ID cards could make holders vulnerable to cybercrime.
Estonia is built on secure state e-systems, so the world was watching when it hit a huge ID-card problem.
Earlier this August, government officials from Estonia announced plans for a national cryptocurrency. Ever since the proposal for what’s been dubbed “the estcoin” came out, cryptocurrency enthusiasts have expressed their interest for an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) or token sale for estcoin. Much of the support comes from understanding what the estcoin would be for — as a currency to support Estonia’s plans for a digital nation, a program they call e-Residency.
We’re working to make e-Residency the best option globally for entrepreneurs launching a trusted ICO, while proceeding with three variants of our own ‘estcoin’ under consideration.
Estonia is expected to get a 100-to-one-euro return on investment for its e-Residency program, which lets anybody start a business from afar. It is even planning to launch ‘estcoins,’ its own cryptocurrency