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During the last 20 years, Estonia has developed a complete, well functioning, and secure e-state. For citizens of Estonia, e-services have become routine: e-elections, e-taxes, e-police, e-healthcare, e-banking, and e-school. The “e” prefix for services has almost become trite in the sense that it is truly standard. Most Estonians would not even consider doing things the old fashioned way by physically visiting an office.

The e-state gives people freedom – to spend time in the forest, countryside, in our countless bogs, or even in Tallinn’s famous Old Town which rests beside the modern city. Almost any activity can be taken care of with a few clicks via the internet.

These modern city office buildings are increasingly used by IT companies which seek an innovative, highly-educated, cost-effective workforce. One example of many: From its development centre in Tallinn, Skype creates a large part of the software used by its loyal customer base of 500 million people.

Thanks to its small size, Estonia is an ideal place for testing new solutions. The implementation and feedback processes move very quickly. Many solutions engineered in Estonia have been later exported, including e-elections, e-school, and m-parking (the “m” means “mobile”). It may also be of interest that Estonia is the only nation in the world which has survived a full-on cyber attack, emerging unscathed by mounting a vigorous self-defence.

Find out more: http://www.businessinestonia.com

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  2. 2. Capital: Tallinn Area: 45,227 km2 Population: 1,340,000 Internet users: 74% Country Calling Code: 372 Internet: .ee Currency: euro (EUR) 2
  3. 3. CONTENTS E-SOCIETY Introduction The Whole Human Lifecycle and an e-Society “Tiger Leap” e-Empowered Citizens 5 6 7 7 E-EDUCATION e-School University Via Internet Broad-based IT-Education 8 8 8 E-SERVICES 9 The e-Business Register and e-Land Register 9 The e-Tax Board and Income Declarations 9 e-Healthcare 10 e-Police 10 e-Banking 11 e-Ticket 11 Nature Online 11 Historical Heritage 11 The State Portal eesti.ee 3 E-STATE e-Government and e-Parliament e-Elections The e-Citizen’s Electronical ID Card Digital Signature The X-road Secure e- and Legal Environments 12 13 14 15 15 15 TECHNOLOGY AND ACCESSIBILITY Connections Abroad Connection and User Statistics Mobile Signals and Wireless Internet Mobile Applications EstWin CONCLUSION 16 16 17 17 17 18
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  5. 5. E-SOCIETY Were the internet to have a postal address, it would most likely be here in Estonia. We have reason to be proud of our highlydeveloped telecommunications network. Estonia is a place you can take your laptop into the deepest forest and still hook up to the internet. It is no accident that Skype was born here. Toomas Hendrik Ilves President of the Republic of Estonia These words of Estonia’s President Toomas Hendrik Ilves characterize well the noteworthy achievements of Estonia in its transition from a Soviet society into one of Europe’s most modern states. 5 During the last 20 years, Estonia has developed a complete, well functioning, and secure e-state. For citizens of Estonia, e-services have become routine: e-elections, e-taxes, e-police, e-healthcare, e-banking, and e-school. The “e” prefix for services has almost become trite in the sense that it is truly standard. Most Estonians would not even consider doing things the oldfashioned way by physically visiting an office. The e-state gives people freedom – to spend time in the forest, countryside, in our countless bogs, or even in Tallinn’s famous Old Town which rests beside the modern city. Almost any activity can be taken care of with a few clicks via the internet. These modern city office buildings are increasingly used by IT companies which seek an innovative, highly-educated, cost-effective workforce. One example of many: From its development centre in Tallinn, Skype creates a large part of the software used by its loyal customer base of 500 million people. Thanks to its small size, Estonia is an ideal place for testing new solutions. The implementation and feedback processes move very quickly. Many solutions engineered in Estonia have been later exported, including e-elections, e-school, and m-parking (the “m” means “mobile”). It may also be of interest that Estonia is the only nation in the world which has survived a full-on cyberattack, emerging unscathed by mounting a vigorous self-defence. Skype has become an international word recognized everywhere. Almost 10% of international calling minutes throughout the entire world are made using Skype. This free internet calling program was developed in Estonia. Skype’s development centre is located in Tallinn. Skype’s experience has been that in Estonia it is easy to develop innovative infrastructure, due to the presence of technological competence in an environment favourable to IT development. Skype’s Chief Evangelist and General Manager of the Tallinn office, Sten Tamkivi, is fond of relating the simple equation of Skype’s original success: “Four guys in a room for six months and the result was one million users two months after launch.” The strength of Skype — and perhaps the strength of Estonian IT — is that its hallmark is simple efficiency. It is not burdened with layers of cumbersome management or formalities. “Before I came to Skype,” says Tamkivi, “I used to bid against a lot of Western European companies for jobs. They would offer a three-layer project organization with complicated reporting structures. We’d put four guys in a room and get the job done.”
  6. 6. The Whole Human Lifecycle and an e-Society In Estonia, it is understood that the value of an IT solution is greater the more useful it is in everyday life. For this reason, the state has supported the development of e-solutions for every stage of an individual’s life. e-solutions are available for child subsidies, school applications, for ordering theatre tickets, seeking employment, booking doctors’ appointments, and applying for pensions. In the works is a plan to enable marriage registrations via internet or, in less unhappier situations, divorces. The majority of forms and applications from state institutions are available in electronic form and may be submitted electronically. Citizens are not required to visit state institutions, freeing time which may be devoted to other pursuits. Estonians are so accustomed to e-services that they always first ask for the institution’s web address, instead of the telephone number. Only if it transpires that an Estonian can’t find an institution’s or business’ web service link or electronic registration system will he pick up the telephone. Every citizen is encouraged to offer proposals for new e-services or present questions via the e-participation portal, osale.ee. Thanks to this process, the state’s actions serve the actual needs of the citizens. 6
  7. 7. e-Empowered Citizens While the Tiger Leap program was to provide a broadbased computer education for students and teachers, the program Vaata Maailma (“Look at the World”) was targeted at the society as a whole who wished to develop along with the information society. The program continues to offer free computer and internet training courses throughout Estonia. Vaata Maailma’s goal was to reduce the digital gap and bring an active e-life to those who, because of their age or other reasons, might have otherwise remained behind. Thanks to the Vaata Maailma program, IT-savvy pensioners are not a rare sight in Estonia. Many actively handle their affairs via the internet. “Tiger Leap“ Estonia did not become an e-state by accident. One of the most significant steps on this road was the 1997 decision to bring people, computers, and the e-world together at the earliest age and begin the nationwide project by equipping schools with the most modern computers and internet connections. Thanks to a program named Tiger Leap, computer skills spread quickly through society. 7 Initiated and supported by President Lennart Meri in 1996, the Tiger Leap program gave Estonian IT a strong kickstart through the program’s ability to produce IT-savvy students from every Estonian school in one fell swoop. This sparked the creation of IT jobs but also created a demand for e-services. The Tiger Leap program continues today, and the education it provides is free for students and teachers alike. www.tiigrihype.ee
  8. 8. E-EDUCATION e-School One of the most widely used e-services is e-school, which serves families with schoolage children. This service is useful to everyone: students, teachers, and parents. Parents are able to register their children in school and monitor a child’s academic performance. Teachers may plan lessons and enter information about subjects covered in class. Students are able to keep an eye on lesson plans and class schedules. e-school enables the anticipation of problems, the source of which are often caused by lack of information whether from the school or the home. With the help of e-school, families are constantly informed concerning matters related to their children and school. For the student it is also easier, since dependency on paper diaries is eliminated, and lesson plans and homework may be accessed at any time. www.ekool.eu and every high school graduate may retrieve them through the state portal eesti.ee, or may opt to receive the results via text message to a mobile telephone. Upon completing high school, students may submit applications for university admittance via the state’s internetbased application system. The system unites the higher-education databases with the students’ exam results, thus greatly simplifying the exchange of information between the user and the university. www.sais.ee Broad-based IT Education A quickly-developing information society needs specialists with broad-based knowledge and practical experience concerning information system security. That’s why almost every university in Estonia offers a higher education in some aspect of IT. Some of Estonia’s IT-degrees are unique in the world – for example, a master’s degree in cyberdefence born at Tallinn Technical University and Tartu University. University Via Internet At the end of high school, all Estonian students are required to take state exams. Exam results are input directly into the information system, 8 www.tu.ee www.ttu.ee www.itcollege.ee
  9. 9. E-SERVICES The State Portal eesti.ee E-services are not useful if the citizenry is unaware of them, or if the services are difficult to locate. The state portal eesti.ee gathers all the state’s e-services in one place. Through this portal, the citizen may enter the e-tax system, make application to universities, check his data in the land register, and much more. A citizen may download, for example, a variety of official forms. Whether seeking a pension application or presenting a claim to the labour dispute commission, it’s all in one place. In addition, access to all e-services are provided via internet banking sites, which makes new services available to all internet banking customers. The portal also shows the citizen what information the state has about him. In the interest of security, the portal is not a single, large database, but rather a secure channel to collect information from separate official databases during a single e-service session. Currently, the state portal uses approximately 60 databases and offers 600 different services. 9 The e-Business Register and e-Land Register The basis for a strong economy is citizens actively engaged in business. An entrepreneur may form a company in Estonia through a completely bureaucracy-free process directly at his personal computer. The e-business portal’s record for the set-up and registration of a company is 18 minutes. In most instances, it would be impossible to even carry documents from one official to another in 18 minutes. To create a company via the internet requires only an Estonian ID card, but the system also recognizes ID cards from Belgium, Portugal, Lithuania, and Finland, and work is currently underway to enable increasing numbers of other nations’ citizens to electronically register businesses in Estonia. www.rik.ee/e-ariregister The e-land register is an internet-based electronic land information system, which enables searches concerning real estate for a nominal charge. www.rik.ee/land_register Both registers have received extensive international recognition, including honours at the European e-Government Awards 2009, the European Enterprise Awards, and others. The e-Tax Board and Income Declarations Before the e-Tax Board, every taxpayer had to manually calculate his income. Now, the same calculations are automatically made from information collected from employers. A citizen now must only enter the e-tax system using his ID card or internet bank, log on, check the information automatically assembled, make additions or changes (if necessary), and approve the declaration. Not a single document must be printed. And waiting in queues during office hours is completely eliminated—the e-Tax Board is open around the clock every day of the week. The e-tax system has proved to be Estonia’s most popular e-service: in 2011, over 93% of tax declarations were filed via the internet. www.emta.ee
  10. 10. e-Healthcare Although it’s not possible to heal via the internet, life can be made much easier thanks to it. Estonia uses digital prescriptions which are not printed on paper. This is doubly useful: a patient isn’t required to keep track of a paper prescription, and digital prescriptions cannot be forged or improperly used. The e-patient system enables people to book, change or cancel appointments with physicians, and includes a feature to generate reminder messages so appointments are not forgotten. Also, the patient may view additions to his file made by the physician, and doctors may access data and analysis about the patient made by other physicians. www.etervis.ee e-Police If you see a police car aglow from the light of its onboard computer, it’s not because the officers are surfing the web. They’re actually working. The police have access to online databases (the Schengen Zone information system) to determine whether the individual they’ve stopped is wanted, or whether the car he’s driving is stolen. This enables the police to make operative decisions without exchanging information with a dispatcher. The only thing it makes complicated is the life of the lawbreaker. 10 Additionally, victims of crimes are not required to visit the police station. Crime reports may be submitted electronically and signed digitally. Cyber Defence The idea for a NATO’s “The Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence” (CCD COE) originated in 2004 in Estonia. Thanks to Estonian developments in the IT sphere, Estonia was designated as the centre’s home. The centre is a collection of international experts and provides NATO member states throughout the world with the necessary expertise in the ever-changing field of cyberdefence. The centre also serves to provide expert training and consultation for partner nations and to research and develop solutions to manage risks and lessen dangers in the IT field. NATO cyberdefence centre is Estonia’s contribution to international cybersecurity, and thanks to this Estonia’s experience and expertise in the sector is shared with many other nations. www.ccdcoe.org
  11. 11. e-Banking Nature Online Citizens accustomed to the e-state also demand paperless solutions from the private sector. One of the best examples of this is banking. The expression “going to the bank” has all but disappeared from the Estonian language. Instead, an Estonian tends to “log in” to his bank. For ten years now, Estonians have not been required to physically visit the bank. To most, it is not a question what time the bank opens or closes or where it’s located, since the internet bank is open 24 hours a day. Currently, 98% of banking transactions are conducted via the internet. With every bank account comes the option to use internet banking. Internet banking is safe, since identification is verified via an ID card or the aid of a mobile telephone-ID system, both many times more secure than the popular password card system, which Estonia still currently has in parallel use. It isn’t only state bureaus which are accessible via the web: nature is, as well. Web cameras placed at the feeding sites of wild animals eating or at nesting locations of birds are extremely popular. In addition to bringing nature closer to city dwellers, the cameras have helped apprehend “nature hooligans” who enter the forest for the purpose of disturbing animals and birds. e-Ticket Only tourists buy paper tickets on Estonia’s capital city’s public transportation system. Locals buy their bus tickets via the internet and their virtual ticket is registered in their personal ID card, which can be checked with a reader carried by conductors. Paper tickets have been almost completely consigned to the dustbin of history. www.pilet.ee 11 www.looduskalender.ee Historical Heritage Estonia doesn’t limit the preservation of its cultural heritage by simply digitally scanning newspapers. For years now, state museums have digitally registered their inventory. Also, church books dating to the 18th century have been digitized so that everyone with an interest may trace his genealogy up to the Middle Ages. State archive materials are also available via the web, which means that serious investigative work doesn’t require a trip to the capital. Thanks to the internet, cultural heritage is also accessible 24 hours a day. www.ra.ee
  12. 12. E-STATE e-Government and e-Parliament Estonians have always been practical people. Why waste paper when you can go without? This practicality is the root of the electronic aspects of Estonia’s government. An information system 12 for sessions of government has functioned since 2000, and since that time it has not been necessary for ministers to arrive with multiple satchels stuffed with documents. The system aids more than ministers, of course. Officials have access to databases in order to familiarize themselves with material, as well as to offer their opinions before an active session. This has reduced the formal decision-making process from the original four or five hours, to only 30 to 90 minutes, leaving the ministers much more time for the discussion of critical issues. Via the database, decisions are recorded in writing and may be followed in real time. Much of parliament’s work has moved to the internet, as well. Parliament sessions can be followed in real time on the parliament’s homepage, and stenographic minutes are posted the next day, at latest. The parliament’s homepage and commission minutes match
  13. 13. exactly. Through the e-justice information system, bills may be viewed in all their earlier forms as they move through the ministries. Via the internet, an interested party can very closely follow the process of creating laws. In Estonia, state institutions’ document registers are also open. This provides transparency in government and aids in the reduction of corruption, since every move leaves a documented mark. Also, Tallinn’s City Council works along the same lines as parliament – all council sessions can be followed online, and city legislation and other documents are available on the homepage. www.valitsus.ee www.riigikogu.ee e-Elections Since 2005, everyone in Estonia has had the opportunity to vote electronically via the internet. Using an ID card or mobile ID, a voter may cast his vote from his home or even while travelling abroad. Held a few days before the paper balloting process, e-voting is the most comfortable way to vote. An ID card and PIN code establish the voter’s identity, but the vote remains anonymous, since immediately after voting the vote is separated from the voter’s connecting digital signature. In the pre-election 13 stage, the voter is entitled to change his vote in the voting commission, by voting in the traditional manner. In the 2011 parliamentary election, 140,846 voters used the e-voting system, with 24.3% of votes cast via internet. The number of e-votes and voter turnout in recent elections indicates a positive effect of the e-voting system on general voter turnout.“ www.valimised.ee The e-Governance Academy The e-Governance Academy is a non-profit information society, development- and analysis centre, with the goal to share Estonia’s experience in the areas of e-government, e-democracy, and information technology education. More than 700 individuals from 36 different nations have come to learn, including representatives from Canada, Japan, Georgia, India, Namibia, and Pakistan. Estonian experience and knowledge have aided many nations to make their election processes more transparent, democratic, and less encumbered by bureaucracy. www.ega.ee
  14. 14. The e-Citizen’s Electronical ID Card The key to almost every innovative e-service in Estonia is the electronical ID card — the obligatory identification document which offers a wide range of uses. Inside this small document is a chip, which holds information not only about the card’s owner, but also two certificates, one of which is used to authenticate identity and the second to render a digital signature. Thanks to its security, the card is used in many web environments where ID verification is needed. Internet banking, participation in e-elections, buying public transportation tickets, and much more can be accomplished using the electronical ID card. The ID card is secure, since PIN codes are also required for the card’s operation. The ID card meets the security requirements set by the United States Department of Defence, and similar technologies are used in banks and other entities where identification is of critical importance. In Estonia, the ID card is the key to electronic communication between the state and the 14 citizen. State services are obtainable through the help of the ID card, and thanks to the card’s proven security, the state is able to provide so many e-services. The presence of a united, national electronic identification system facilitates an increasing number of e-services, since developers are not required to create a new authentication systems. In addition to the ID card, the mobile ID is gaining popularity among users. The mobile ID uses the same infrastructure and is indeed an extension of the mobile telephone world. To use e-services, it is no longer necessary to carry plastic cards — PIN codes can be input directly from a mobile telephone. www.id.ee The Estonian company GuardTime developed the solution which ensures digital documents cannot be altered via special codes impossible to forge. Their solution is being used in several international organizations.
  15. 15. Digital Signature A completely paper-free work culture is predicated on the ability to sign documents digitally. This is done with the aid of the ID card. Legally speaking, a digital signature does not differ from a signature on paper and both carry the same judicial weight. For example, when forming a company, all documents can be signed digitally. It is not possible to copy a digital signature, and a stolen digital signature is invalid without the correct codes. The X-road The majority who use ID cards on the internet are unaware that the transaction is connected to multiple databases — it appears as a single database for the sake of user comfort. Since the beginning, Estonia has had the goal of avoiding the creation of a single nationwide mammoth database. In place of this, a technology called the X-road has been developed, which enables cross-usage of different institutions’ databases in a single portal. This modular construction is effective, since no single critical point exists which might compromise the entire system. A breach in one system does not endanger others. The X-road also helps Estonia avoid the 15 emergence of development monopolies, since the state is not dependent on any single developer. This improves competition within the country but also guarantees the existence of multiple, high-capability IT companies in the country. Secure e- and Legal Environments Estonia’s e-services are regulated by legislation and are in accordance with database security regulations. Estonian laws give e-transactions equal status with paper transactions. A digital signature is legally identical to one on paper. The abuse of electronic identity is punishable by law. The protection of personal data in the fulfilment of doing work in the public sphere and other e-government directives have been carried into Estonian law. The keeping of electronic information and its use are regulated by several different laws. State institutional use of databases is carefully monitored via a log book which records public officials entering the database, as well as the information they accessed, which helps in the evaluation of whether the search was justified.
  16. 16. TECHNOLOGY AND ACCESSIBILITY Connections Abroad Estonia’s location at the crossroads of Scandinavia, Europe, and Russia is favourable not only logistically, but also when it comes to information technology. Estonian service providers are directly connected to many 16 European and Scandinavian states, and despite its small size, the complete paralysis of Estonia’s internet connection is virtually impossible due to multiple duplication of access channels. Estonia has equally fast connections to Scandinavia, Russia, and the rest of Europe. Connection and User Statistics The internet is an obvious tool that every Estonian recognises. Of the population aged 1674, a full 74% take advantage of it, and 68% of Estonian homes have connections. Only 2% of internet users use dial-up connections. Internet is available in all schools and libraries. 97% of businesses use computers on a daily basis, and 96% of these use the internet. 68% of businesses have a homepage. 40% of businesses choose to
  17. 17. receive e-invoices, and 30% of businesses issue them. In Estonia, there is not a significant difference in internet users’ sex, education, place of dwelling. Whether in the countryside or city, two-thirds of men and women use the internet. More than 60% of new companies are created via the e-business register on the internet. Mobile Signals and Wireless Internet Estonia is completely covered by three mobile network service providers. All the operators offer internet connections, and in larger towns and cities at least a 3G connection is available. Additionally, internet via radio frequencies is available throughout the country. Of Estonia’s 45,000 square kilometres, there are more than 1,140 publicly registered wireless internet points, most of which are available without cost. It is difficult to find a cafe or restaurant without free, wireless internet, and the majority of local governments are also covered by wireless. It’s difficult to find a place in Estonia where the internet does not reach. Even under the most extreme circumstances it’s only a few hundred metres to the nearest signal. www.wifi.ee 17 The GPS-based digital mapping system produced by the company Regio is in use in both western and eastern Europe. Services provided under the name Reach-U are used by many nation’s mobile service providers. Mobile Applications Use of electronic services does not always require a computer. A mobile telephone often suffices. M-parking is popular, and registration and payment may be done via a mobile telephone. The m-ticket service enables the purchase of tickets on public transport without cash. Through a mobile phone it’s possible to buy theatre tickets and pay at the grocery store. m-services developed in Estonia have been successfully applied in other countries, as well. EstWin The state-funded development project EstWin’s goal is to build a new generation broadband network which would reach every Estonian resident by the year 2015 with connection speeds up to 100Mbit/s. www.elasa.ee
  18. 18. CONCLUSION Many important and fundamental innovations in e-Estonia have already been accomplished, but easing up after establishing momentum is out of the question. In an information society, everything changes so quickly that a bystander is quickly trailing in the dust. Significant projects continue, including EstWin, a commitment to provide every person and every institution in the country with an internet connection of 100 Mbit/s by the year 2015. Also in the works is the full application of our digital healthcare system. And there is the daily work of keeping the existing system of e-services up-to-date, simplifying it, and making it increasingly user-friendly. Now is the time to raise the important question – what is the role of the state and local governments in Estonia’s e-universe? Can and should we change the state’s administrative system as a whole, in order to take the e-state to a new level? Or how far, in general, should we allow e-features to enter our lives? Should every freezer be equipped with a device that sends the owner a text message when the food’s “best by” date has expired? Or should we attach a transmitter to every Estonian tree and animal to offer the world’s scientists a unique opportunity to monitor via internet the condition of one country’s natural environment? Or should Estonia be the first nation in the world where pensioners and high- 18 risk patients are fitted with online-transmitters, where doctors automatically receive bulletins about their patients’ well being, omitting the need for patients to spend a day queuing at the clinic? Perhaps Estonia could be the first nation in the world to rid itself of thousands of kilograms of textbooks, and replace them with a lightweight e-reader such as an Apple iPad, or one of its successors? This is all in the future, and Estonia intends to be at the vanguard of developments in every case. It is Estonia’s policy to continue as an innovative and fast-developing nation. Businesses, whose goal is to find new, innovative solutions and new approaches to old problems, will find Estonia an attractive place. Like Skype Estonia’s chief Sten Tamkivi has said, we already possess the technological competence and IT-favourable environment, and our only intention is to improve them. Why not come to Estonia and, together with us, bring progressive plans to fruition. We offer ideas, experience, a highly-educated, ambitious workforce, and a government and society which embrace innovation at every level. Welcome to e-Estonia! Estonian Association of Information Technology and Telecommunications www.itl.ee www.wifi.ee
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  20. 20. CONTACT Enterprise Estonia Lasnamäe 2, Tallinn 11412, Estonia Telephone: +372 6279700 Fax: +372 6279701 info@eas.ee www.estonia.eu www.investinestonia.com www.tradewithestonia.com www.visitestonia.com www.e-estonia.com 20
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