PM pioneers latest E-stonian mobile technology

  • 2007-10-18
  • By Mike Collier
TALLINN 's Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip has started using the Mobiil-ID service, which enables the user of e-services to safely verify their identity with a mobile phone, log on to an internet bank and supply a digital signature. The Mobiil-ID service is an analogue of the ID-card in a mobile phone.

In a government information release, the prime minister said he uses the electronic functions of the ID-card every day and recommends everybody else do the same.

"It is very simple and convenient," said Ansip after using the service for the first time.

At the moment, almost 1 million people in Estonia have an ID-card, but there are only around 90,000 users of its electronic functions. A sudden increase in the number of card users appeared after e-voting in March and as a result of the activities of the Computer Protection 2009 initiative.

A pan-Baltic cooperation project, the aim of which is to establish a common digital signature standard, has also been launched on the basis of the Mobiil-ID.

"In everyday life this would mean, for example, that the Lithuanian Prime Minister signs a document, e-mails it to the Estonian Prime Minister, for example, who can check whether the digital signature on the document is valid, signs the document digitally after checking, and e-mails it back to his colleague," said Andres Aarma, coordinator of Computer Protection 2009.

"Estonia is one of the first countries in the world where the Mobiil-ID service has been taken up. At the moment, only EMT provides this service but, in the near future, other mobile operators are also expected to provide the service," Aarma added.

According to the Prime Minister, the state must guide public towards the safe use of e-services.

"We cannot put the reliability of our e-services and the well-being of our citizens, as well as trust towards the public sector, at risk," he said.

The Computer Protection 2009 initiative, launched in May of last year, is a joint project between the main funders of the Vaata Maailma Foundation (Hansapank, SEB Eesti Uhispank, EMT and Elion) and the Estonian state, to make computer use safer.