Estonia to start storing history of digital state

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E-voting in Estonia. Even a card reader is not essential - voters can authenticate themselves using mobile ID. Source: Flickr

Estonia will start storing the history of the digital state between 1991 and 2016 by carrying out a series of recorded interviews with leaders.

Topics to be investigated include the beginning and development of the Tiigrihupe (Tiger Leap) program, e-Cabinet, e-Tax Board, ID-card and digital signature, e-elections, e-health and e-residency.

In addition, the history of national cybersecurity and cooperation with the private sector and the contribution of the IT sector will also be touched upon.

"The Estonian digital state, its basic infrastructure and digital services are unique in the world in terms of their level of development. However, the path of its formation, the relevant key events and decisions and their background are very little documented," Siim Sikkut, deputy secretary general of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications for ICT, said.

"With this initiative, we want to gather and record the memories and knowledge of the birth and formation of the digital state from the decision-makers and implementers of that time, both for present and future generations. This will help us learn from worthwhile experiences and continue to build the Estonian digital state, but also for those interested from all over the world to learn more about the building of the Estonian digital state," Sikkut added.

The aim of the work is to record the memories of key players about the development path of the Estonian digital state and especially its beginnings, while capturing memories of important people, events, digital solutions that have been introduced and the success factors of their introduction.

The aim is for them to be stored for history and research and that, in the future, it would be possible to conduct research on their basis, including a thorough analysis of the lessons learned from the development of the Estonian digital state.

The history of the formation of the digital state over the period 1991-2016, that is the first 25 years, will be documented. Altogether 60 biographical interviews will be conducted, from which high-quality video and audio files will be recorded, which will be freely available to all interested parties in the future - at least through the National Archives.

"Of course, the praiseworthy contribution of hundreds of people has left a mark on the development of the Estonian digital state and made it possible, but we have to start somewhere, and if the initiative is successful, it can always be continued in the future and the memory bank expanded," Sikkut said.

The project is implemented through the European Union structural support scheme "Raising Public Awareness about the Information Society" with funding from the European Regional Development Fund.

The cost of the project, including VAT, is €95,280 and the work will be completed in the beginning of 2022. The Estonian Information System Authority (RIA) and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications have entered into an agreement with the public limited company Ernst & Young Baltic.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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