Estonia, the Digital Republic

January 3, 2018

#Estonia, the Digital Republic
https://www.NewYorker.com/magazine/2017/12/18/estonia-the-digital-republic Great description of an advanced nation built on a public rather than private computing infrastructure (X-road). Systems built on a national ID card. Laws & tech explicitly protect personal info even from a casual glance.

QT:{{”
““Let me show you how,” Beljuskina said, and led me into a room filled with medical equipment and a computer in the corner. She logged on with her own I.D. If she were to glance at any patient’s data, she explained, the access would be tagged to her name, and she would get a call inquiring why it was necessary.

“Instead of setting up prisoner transport to trial—fraught with security risks—Estonian courts can teleconference defendants into the courtroom from prison.”


Lift99, which houses thirty-two companies and five freelancers, had industrial windows, with a two-floor open-plan workspace. Both levels also included smaller rooms named for techies who had done business with Estonia. There was a Zennström Room, after Niklas Zennström, the Swedish entrepreneur who co-founded Skype, in Tallinn. There was a Horowitz Room, for the venture capitalist Ben Horowitz,”

“In what may have been the seminal insight of twenty-first-century Estonia, Martens realized that whoever offered the most ubiquitous and secure platform would run the country’s digital future—and that it should be an elected leadership, not profit-seeking Big Tech. …
“Kaevats told me it irked him that so many Westerners saw his country as a tech haven. He thought they were missing the point. “This enthusiasm and optimism around technology is like a value of its own,” he complained. “This gadgetry that I’ve been ranting about? This is not important.” He threw up his hands, scattering ash. “It’s about the mind-set. It’s about the culture. It’s about the human relations—what it enables us to do.””
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