President: Estonia needs uniform e-state policy

The National Defense Council that convened at the invitation of the president focused on the lessons from the ID-card crisis and issues concerning the future of the e-state, while other topics discussed also included the need for a technological development leap as well as issues related to ethics and security of the e-state, the president’s office said. One of the main issues discussed at the meeting was the need to create a uniform e-state policy and how to sort out the legal system and the distribution of roles in solving those questions.

“We are proud of our e-state but it is clear that our great dependency on e-services has in essence become a security issue. In this council are represented all national branches of power, who will deal with the issue from one perspective or another,” Kaljulaid said after the meeting of the National Defense Council.

The president highlighted that if we have assumed the direction toward a preventive e-state, the current technological platform may not be sufficient anymore. “If we want that e-solutions in the future will also make some decisions for us without it being necessary to fill in another application, we must also update the engine of the e-state technologically,” the head of state said.

“At the same time, this will immediately raise questions concerning ethics — what will the state and the e-state do themselves? How much can the information systems decide for us, how much can they know about us? We need an agreement in this regard, a framework,” the president said.

Speaking about the security of the e-state, Kaljulaid highlighted a significant capacity gap discussed at the meeting. “We are lacking specialists who understand and create security solutions, including cryptography. We are also lacking people who would check and audit their activity,” the president said, but at that commended the government, which in the state budget strategy of the next four years has set developing that capacity as a significant priority.

The National Defense Council also discussed the events that took place in Syria last weekend as well as recent developments in the region. “It is clear that the use of a chemical weapon is a limit that we cannot tolerate. The Western world could not remain a silent bystander and just talking big and condemning will not change anything,” Kaljulaid said.

The National Defense Council is an advisory body to the president that meets as and when necessary. The previous sitting of the National Defense Council took place in November, when the council focused on issues concerning the ID-card crisis.

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