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Republic of Estonia
“This is the first data embassy in the world. Its establishment is part of the Estonian general strategy of data management and fundamentally a double guarantee to our data and services,” Ratas explained.
“A majority of daily open services of Estonia are digital. Data security and cyber security are generally crucial from the perspective of both people’s confidence and the functioning of services. It is also an important part of the so-called daily digital hygiene in increasingly digitising societies,” Ratas said.
According to the Prime Minister, Luxembourg has the technical capability to back up our data at a high security level in data embassies. “Estonia is the world’s first country that uses this method to double secure its digital consistency in close cooperation with Luxembourg,” Ratas said.
Paper can be cheated and paper can be faked, but information in a register can't," says Taavi Kotka, the Estonian government's chief information officer and the man tasked with setting the IT agenda for the world's most digitally-advanced society. Citizens can vote in national elections, find businesses and register baby names online using an identity card and a PIN-enabled reader. Patient health records are secured by the blockchain while land records are timestamped and held on publicly accessible online registers.
Estonia has converted itself into binary code and, according to Kotka, other countries will soon be following its lead. "Digital countries will be a new normality some time soon," he says. If Estonia was somehow wiped off the map, by invasion or a natural disaster, its data and services would allow the functions of the state to reboot.
To keep his country's data and online infrastructure safe, Kotka is experimenting with "data embassies". Friendly countries would host servers housing Estonia’s critical data and applications and, in the event of an attack, the Estonian government could switch over to those external databases to keep the country running.
Kotka is currently in talks with friendly governments, including the UK, about installing Estonian data embassies on their territory. "We would like to put data embassies under the Vienna Convention," he says.