e-Estonia, one



trump fail-safe do away with
access secure turn towards
policy provoke paperwork
vote set up in charge
budget suspect memorial
portal restrict dismantle
debate rebirth apparently
gain cabinet check out
inject mindset transformation
range remote get away
permit field (2)






All Prime Minister Andrus Ansip needs for his cabinet meeting in Tallinn is his laptop. His e-cabinet has done away with mountains of paperwork saving time and money.

Minister of Economic Affairs, Juhan Parts is in charge of connecting members of cabinet.

Juhan Parts: “It’s a very practical tool because everything…you have very easy access to everything. We can also calculate tax-payers’ money as well.”

Estonia has been turning towards e-services, or internet services since the mid-1990s.

An electronic ID card is a must for each citizen.

“My ID card can also work as an access key to do everything online,” says Siim Sikkut, ICT Policy Adviser. Whenever I need to log in to a secure service — portal, website, whatever — online, I do it with an ID card.”

In Estonia, setting up an internet company takes 20 minutes, while doing your taxes takes 30. Ninety percent of Estonians vote on the web, so it’s hardly surprising the government of Estonia spends 1% of its budget on e-Estonia.

But the system is far from fail-safe.

In 2007 administration units were attacked by suspected Russian hackers, provoked by plans to dismantle a Soviet war memorial.

Yet Estonia still strongly believes in its liberal web politics.

“You have to make the internet or cyberspace secure and safe — not restricting freedoms. That’s the big difference when we are looking at general debates and solutions in different countries around the world,” says Parts.

We visit the director of the ICT Demo Center to check out what a smart phone can do in Estonia.

Apparently it can buy magazines.

Indrek Vimberg explains why Estonia is so advanced.

“The Institute of Cybernetics of the Soviet Union was located in — Tallinn. And after we regained independence, most of these engineers and educated people stayed in Estonia.”

Today Estonians are learning how to program electronics in elementary school, where computers have trumped textbooks.

These innovations were made possible by Estonia’s rebirth in 1991.

“Then entire population made the transformation from being communist to capitalist. So anyway people’s mindset went through the transformation. It was the right time to inject this e-thing into the people’s mind as well,” says Vimberg.

When even remote areas have free wifi, there’s no getting away from the internet. In the cities, you can do almost everything online, including purchasing parking permits.

“It makes life a lot easier, whether they are at home, at work, in a public square like this, out in the field, even in a nature park, basically the range of services is open and widely available,” says Sikkut.

It seems the people of Tallinn sees no problem with the country’s e-mania.

Person One: “I think the system is quite safe. When someone wants to steal my data, then they’re going to steal it anyway.”

Person Two: “It shows that we are developing quite well.”

Person Three: “I don’t want to vote online; I’d prefer to do it personally. But I like using other services.”

Estonia is the fourth smallest country in Europe — but clearly one of the most advanced.


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1. The government and ministry of Estonia has changed over the years. Yes or no?

2. Describe the electronic ID.

3. Can most things be done quickly and easily? What can people do with their smartphones?

4. Estonia’s internet system is 100% safe and secure. Is this correct or incorrect?

5. Has Estonia places restrictions on the internet (on online freedom)? What position has Estonia taken regarding internet safety?

6. Why is Estonia so advanced in the internet in daily life?

7. Estonia made a complete transformation in the early 1990s. True or false?

8. Do Estonians feel totally at ease, mostly at ease, in the middle, they have mixed feelings, they are wary and suspicious or they don’t trust the internet.?
A. What are some things that people in your city can use the internet for?

B. Governments, businesses and schools moving towards a paperless environment. What do you think?

C. Are there any risks and drawbacks towards doing most things, transactions or everything online?

D. I want to see everything go digital or online. Do you agree? What about your friends and family?

E. What will happen in the future regarding the internet?

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