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Data embassy in Luxembourg to cost €2.2 million over five years

Server room.
Server room. Source: (AFP/Scanpix)

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications will allocate €2.2 million over the next five years for the data embassy to be established in Luxembourg in early 2018.

“According to current plans, setting up the technical solution for the embassy should be finished by the end of the first half of 2018 at the latest. The work of the data embassy itself will start at the latest by the end of the same year,” Emilie Toomela, spokesperson for the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, told BNS on Thursday.

“The rental agreement with Luxembourg is expected to enter into force from January 1, 2018, but the negotiations concerning the agreement are still ongoing. Then it will be possible to start setting up the technical solution of the data embassy from January 1,” Toomela said. She added that rent and data expenses, which according to the ministry will be €236,000 a year over the course of five years, will be added to the million euros spend on establishing the embassy.

The running costs of electricity and the administration of the embassy will be covered by the Center of Registers and Information Systems (RIK) and other participating institutions out of their own budgets. The expenses will be divided according to use as well as an agreement between the parties, so that in case other institutions do not use the data embassy or generally until they start using it, all running costs will be covered by RIK.

The government approved an agreement in June according to which Estonia can open a data embassy in Luxembourg where copies of important databases and registers will be stored, the aim of which is to guarantee the digital continuity of Estonia. The agreement would enable Estonia to open the world’s first data embassy, where the state will back up critical data and services outside its territory, provided that immunity has been guaranteed for the data and servers in the data center.

Luxembourg was chosen as the location of the Estonian data embassy as the country has highly secured data centers that meet NATO standards. In addition, sufficient geographical distance from the original servers is important when backing up critical data. The government of Luxembourg was prepared to offer the necessary diplomatic privileges and protection to Estonia’s data.

The rental agreement with Luxembourg for the use of the data embassy will initially be signed for five years and can be extended. RIK has 24 months to use the funding allocated by the investment plan.

The total cost of the project is €1 million. A total of 85 percent of the funding will be covered out of the European Regional Development Fund, while 15 percent will be covered by national co-financing.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

Source: BNS

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