Facts about e-Estonia
Estonia has nearly 1.3 million inhabitants. In Estonia IT solutions developed within the construction of e-State constitute a part of our state administration. We use information technology as an instrument for increasing administrative capacity and ensuring an innovative and convenient living environment for citizens. That is a lifestyle that values simplicity, speed, comfort and economic savings. Therefore the keywords behind the development of e-State in Estonia are sustainable development and high-quality environment
Today 88.4% of population (16–74) is using the Internet and 87.9% of households have Internet access in Estonia (September 2015). The whole territory of Estonia is covered with the possibility of dedicated links and public internet points. More than 1000 public WiFi networks are officially registered.
The triumphal progress of Estonia as e-State started largely due to banking. In the beginning of the nineties, modern banking systems were created allowing money-owners to manage their funds in an electronic environment of a bank without leaving their home. The system won approval of users. At the same time the need arouse for people to acquire personal computer and internet connection, also to learn how to use computers.
Today 99.6% of banking transactions are done electronically and the number of users of the Estonian Internet banks is more than 1.8 million clients, a bit more than the whole population of Estonia – 1.3 million. (August 2011).
Banks created infrastructure for identification a person in an electronic environment. Soon other entities wanted to offer their services in an electronic environment and saw their opportunity. This created a good basis for emerging e-State. One by one, the electronic Population Register, e-Tax Board etc. were created. Today more than 600 information systems of the public and the private sector, together with more than 3,500 services they provide, are described in the state information administration system. (March 2016)
X-road and public e-Services
Soon after creating the first modern information systems, the need for interactivity between information systems arose. In late 90s a project X-Road started having the objective of creating a secure and standard environment for interconnection or data communication between information systems. In practice, X-Road was ready to use in the beginning of the year 2002 when the Population Register as a first database was integrated into X-Road.
In 2000, a gateway to e-State was launched and first results in this field were produced in 2002. The objective was to create a gateway to e-State in the Internet for every public e- and m-services. Today a citizen, an enterprise and a civil servant all have their individual view. Public e- and m-services of almost 200 organizations have been aggregated. In 2015, state portal was visited 5.5 million times.
ID-card and m-ID
In 2001 the first nation-wide ID-card was introduced. It's the primary identity document for Estonian citizens both in the real and digital world. Today over 86% of citizens have ID-cards. It is also possible to affix a digital signature that is legally equal to a handwritten signature. Approximately 40% of ID-card owners have used digital ID to authenticate themselves or give a digital signature (statistics: 2011).
In connection with ID-card and the enactment of a digital signature, preconditions for first nation-wide elections via the Internet were also created. E-elections are specific because of the possibility to make a choice at home or elsewhere people had access to the e-election system In 2009, nation-wide e-elections of local governments and elections of the European parliament were carried out. Over 140,000 e-voters took part in the election of Estonian parliament in 2011.
Every ID-card owner also gets an official e-mail address in the form email@example.com. The address is intended for official communication with the state and is stated as an „official electronic residence“ of the citizen. More than 118,000 private individuals and over 16,000 companies are using this opportunity today.
Mobile ID-card offers an alternative to electronic functions of ID-card. It was commissioned in addition to ID-card in spring 2007. Mobile ID gives an opportunity to use electronic services in the situation where ID-card is not available for some reasons. Today there are over 75,000 users of Mobile ID in Estonia. (February 2016)
Estonian E-Tax Board should be distinguished because declarations are previously completed and verification of a declaration takes only a few minutes. In 2016, 96% of people declared their income electronically.
Since the beginning of 2007, it takes only 15 minutes to establish a firm in the Internet. The company will be legalized within a few hours and an undertaker may start with business the same day.
Police patrol cars are equipped with computers and an internet connection. Due to good IT-infrastructure of the state, it is possible to receive information about a driver and his car without a driving licence or car documents. The system has an access to more than 15 databases (3 of these outside Estonia) directly or via X-Road, and policemen can do their work more operatively.
E-Kool (e-school) where communication between a teacher, a student and a parent is electronic have also proved its place in our society. More than 80% of Estonian schools have joined the system and it covers 90% of students.
In addition, many public sector institutions offer their services in m-form.
Estonia is the state where m-parking system was commissioned first in the world.
In spring 2007, a large cyber attack took place against websites of Estonian government offices and data communication networks. The cyber attack pointed out the bottlenecks of different systems. This allowed to strengthen information system of the whole state and gave a valuable experience to specialists. Simultaneously, it was decided to modify Estonia into the state having the most secure information society. This was accompanied by thorough adjustment of legal environment suitable for the changed situation.
ESTONIA certainly is an e-State. SKYPE has been developed in Estonia. Estonian government has used a striking information system of e-Government where all operations are done in an electronic environment without paper for more than a decade.