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IT minister wants €200 million loan to develop Estonia's e-state

Tiit Riisalo.
Tiit Riisalo. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

The Minister of Economy Affairs and Information Technology Tiit Riisalo (Eesti 200) wants to use a €200 million loan to develop and expand Estonia's e-state into a so-called "personalized state" (Personaalne riik).

One of Eesti 200's pre-election pledges was to modernize the e-state and bring more services online. On Monday, Riisalo laid out his ideas for how Estonia should move forward.

In the future, for example, marriage, divorce, finding a kindergarten place, and paying bills could all be done on the same online platform.

"For example, moving, which people have to do from time to time. It's a series of legal procedures, real estate transactions, but at the same time, the private sector can provide you with everything you need," Riisalo told "Aktuaalne kaamera".

An e-state mobile app is already being developed and in recent years the state portal eesti.ee has been upgraded. But there is still more work to be done.

Taavi Ploompuu, head of the Personal Services Department of the Estonian Information System Authority (RIA) said: "We can see that the core channels are eesti.ee and the state mobile app, but still, because technology is evolving so fast, we can see that the presentation layer of channels can change over time. So maybe our children will no longer use a mobile app, maybe there is a third solution."

Making large-scale changes to the system also requires changing the law.

Riisalo said: "We can also take care of all the legal transactions if necessary. This is also one of our objectives, for which an amendment to the law is now in the pipeline: we will also legalize documents on mobile phones. So hopefully, when the Riiigkogu picks up its pace this session, by the summer, when we launch the M-Riik app, there will already be the possibility to use all your identity documents on your mobile phone."

Additionally, ensuring users' privacy is a priority, and more measures will be introduced.

Ploompuu said: "In the future, I can see all our services coming with information about what data was used, for what purpose, and where it was requested from. Just to give people this kind of reliable information directly about why they were offered certain services and where the data came from. And, of course, the same so that if a person does not wish to receive personalized or proactive services, they must always have the opportunity to let us know about it, and then their data will not be requested from databases."

The development of the so-called personal state is estimated to cost approximately €200 million and Riisalo believes it could be funded by a loan.

The minister's plan has not yet been adopted by the government.

More information about the personalized state plan can be read in the coalition agreement here.

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Editor: Mait Ots, Helen Wright

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