Estonian minister in Korea: Democracy can ensure lasting peace, security

  • 2024-03-19
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – Estonian Minister of Economic Affairs and IT Tiit Riisalo said at the Summit for Democracy in Seoul, South Korea, on Monday that democracy is the only thing that can ensure lasting peace and security in the world.

In his opening speech at the summit, Riisalo confirmed Estonia's commitment to promoting democracy in the world.

"Democracy is the only thing that can ensure lasting peace and security in the world, and therefore Estonia is committed to protecting and promoting it. Our experience has shown how technology can be used to build a digital society and democracy. Digital solutions are the basis for the development of open, transparent and inclusive governance," the minister said.

He also emphasized the importance of cooperation between the public and private sectors and legislative work, which laid the foundation for Estonia's unique digital success story.

"It is the task of governments to ensure that companies feel the advantages of cooperation between the public and private sector and that citizens trust the solutions offered to them through public and private sector partnership. Trust can be established by creating a strong legal framework, which must ensure accountability, but also enable innovation," the minister added.

The Summit for Democracy is a global pro-democracy initiative launched in 2021 by US President Joe Biden. At the summit held in 2022, Estonia, together with the United Kingdom and the organization Access Now, led the technology cohort, which was launched at the Tallinn Digital summit. The third summit (S4D3) is hosted by South Korea.

Riisalo also participated in a panel discussion together with representatives of the international technology companies Alphabet, Meta and Microsoft, the aim of which was to discuss ways to strengthen cooperation between the state and companies in order to prevent, detect and respond to cyber threats or hostile information operations that could threaten the security of democratic elections around the world.

"It was just last weekend that Estonia was hit by the largest DDoS attack to date. Estonia won. Our eastern neighbor is attacking us openly in the cyberspace, but that is why Estonia also knows what cyber security means. With our 20 years of experience in e-elections, we also know what elections in the digital space mean," Riisalo said.

"Laws to limit disinformation on social media will come anyway, this is inevitable. But regulation must not be carried ou in haste, it must be done wisely -- in close cooperation with technology companies and social media platforms, as they have the knowledge and are inevitably the main channels through which disinformation reaches people," he added.

Minister of Economic Affairs and IT Tiit Riisalo is in Korea until Thursday and, in addition to attending the summit, will also hold bilateral meetings with ministers of the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Ireland and the Philippines. Riisalo will also meet with the Korean minister of the interior and safety, the minister of science and IT and representatives of the National Assembly. With the head of KOTRA, a state-funded trade and investment promotion organization operated by the South Korean government, Riisalo will discuss the promotion of trade ties as well as possibilities for cooperation between Estonia and Korea and visit the technology companies DeepBio, Deepbrain, SK Telecom and Lunit.