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Estonia goes cyber "thanks" to occupation

Apr 17, 2008
In cooperation with BNS

Estonia goes cyber "thanks" to occupation
Photo: Patricia Dekker

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

"When Estonian independence was restored in 1991, there was nothing to be done with the structures that the occupation regime left behind. Many of the features that are characteristic of normal countries, such as banks, were totally missing," 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 population uses the Internet, and more than half of households have a home computer, 90 percent of which are connected to the Internet.

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

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

Estonia has not experienced any serious system errors, but last year it experienced a massive and coordinated cyber attack against the country with the goal of crippling the work of state institutions, banks and information channels, in order to destabilize the situation in the country, Ilves said.

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

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

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