Ilves Touts Free Online Speech in UN Address

Photo: Postimees/Scanpix
9/27/2012 12:06 PM

Addressing the UN General Assembly during the general debate in New York on Wednesday, President Toomas Hendrik Ilves said information and communication technologies may lead to a new Industrial Revolution.

“Despite the world's best efforts millions remain in poverty. The IT transformation will create massive opportunities all over the world,” Ilves said.

He continued: “We must, however, avoid a digital divide that would stymie this historic chance to accelerate the development in all parts of the world. Especially because by investing in IT, countries such as mine have leapt into modernity and transparency.”

The president's speech brought up Estonia's e-nation trumps - e-elections, e-taxes, e-school, e-medicine, e-parking, and other innovative public services that he said have reduced corruption and cut costs.

He also mentioned the 2007 cyber attacks and the recent Freedom House survey that ranked Estonia as having the freest internet in the world. Ilves said a new International Telecommunication Union regulation should avoid restricting internet freedom.

“Too many countries speak about the dangers of a free Internet from a security perspective. The truth is that cyber security is needed to prevent oppressive governments and criminals wreaking havoc. It is not to prevent peaceful individuals from speaking their minds or gathering information and exchanging ideas,” Ilves said.

The president will be a keynote speaker at a cyber security conference in Washington on Thursday.

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