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Estonian Minister of the Interior: Digi-ID will make Estonia world’s e-business centre

5. November 2014 - 10:45
Minister of the Interior of the Republic of Estonia Hanno Pevkur gave a speech at 83rd Interpol General Assembly (Photo: www.interpol.int)
Minister of the Interior of the Republic of Estonia Hanno Pevkur gave a speech at 83rd Interpol General Assembly (Photo: www.interpol.int)

Minister of the Interior of the Republic of Estonia Hanno Pevkur gave a speech at 83rd Interpol General Assembly, addressing the idea of taking Estonian digital services on a global level and the possible security issues of digital identification.

In his speech, Pevkur focused on Estonian e-state advancements as well as the cooperation between the private and government sectors in increasing the security of digi-ID.

„Estonia will be the first country in the world to take its digital services to the global level. On December 1, a new law will come into force that enables people living anywhere in the world to apply for Estonian e-residence,” Hanno Pevkur explained. Digi-ID grants foreigners similar rights to Estonian citizens and residents, enabling them to use Estonian public and private e-services from anywhere in the world. “It means companies have a wider scope to operate in Estonian economic environment, helping us to bring new investments, jobs and added value to the country – figuratively speaking, it will change Estonia into world e-business centre,“ Pevkur said.

He added that digi-ID will be most useful for the enterprises whose board members reside in different countries, because they will no longer have to meet physically to sign documents. „All the paperwork can be done without spending money on flights, not to mention the time we can save due to digi-ID solution,” mentioned Pevkur.

„In the same time, we understand that digi-ID will pose a bigger challenge to law-enforcement institutions. E-crimes, e-frauds, e-terrorism etc. is nothing new in the world, different forms of crime have simply emigrated from the physical world to the digital sphere. That is why the countries using e-services, including Estonia, focus on providing security in the digital world,” said Pevkur.

To avoid the improper use of e-ID, the applicants pass a background check to make sure they are trustworthy. In case of suspect, digi-ID is not issue. The validity of an already issued document can also be suspended when used improperly. The government frequently cooperates with the private sector to supervise the use of digi-ID.

There are more than 4000 e-services that can be used in Estonia. More than 182 million documents have been signed digitally to this day. Taking into account that Estonian population is 1,3 million, it makes 140 signatures per person, including babies and retired people. Last year, more than 95% of tax-payers declared their income electronically; filling out a tax form takes about 5 minutes in Estonia. E-voting system for government elections has been used since 2005, more than 100 000 people, a third of the total number of voters, voted online.