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Estonia goes cyber "thanks" to occupation

  • 2008-04-17
  • In cooperation with BNS

Photo: Patricia Dekker

DUBLIN 's Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves said in Dublin on Tuesdaythat Estonia became an e-country "thanks" to the Soviet occupation lastingnearly 50 years.

"When Estonianindependence was restored in 1991, there was nothing to be done with thestructures that the occupation regime left behind. Many of the features thatare characteristic of normal countries, such as banks, were totallymissing," Ilves said in his presentation at the Institute of European Affairs.

The foundation for Estonia's e-revolution was the "internetization"schools and the development of Internet banking, he said.

In Estonia today, 66 percent of the populationuses the Internet, and more than half of households have a home computer, 90percent of which are connected to the Internet.

The audience was very interested in Estonia'sexperiences with conducting e-elections and in the use of ID cards, as well asthe possibility of using the e-tax board environment to file tax declarations.

"Although an e-country has clear benefits -- savings in time and humanresources, and the reduction of corruption -- there are also great risks,"the president noted.

Estoniahas not experienced any serious system errors, but last year it experienced amassive and coordinated cyber attack against the country with the goal ofcrippling the work of state institutions, banks and information channels, inorder to destabilize the situation in the country, Ilves said.

The attacks came as a rebellion by those who were angered by the removal ofSoviet war memorial.

Today, a NATO cyber security center is being established in Estonia,and European Union legislation to combat cyber crime and cyber attacks willalso be planned as soon as possible, he said.