Iceland latest nation to adopt Estonia's X-Road platform

Graphical visuaiisation of the X-Road interoperability solution. Image is illustrative
Graphical visuaiisation of the X-Road interoperability solution. Image is illustrative Source: Nordic Institute for Interoperability Solutions.

Iceland is the latest nation to adopt Estonia's high security X-Road data exchange layer.

The announcement followed a meeting on Wednesday between Icelandic Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir (VG) and Jüri Ratas (Centre), Estonia's prime minister, as well as Icelandic finance and economic affairs minister (and former prime minister) Bjarni Benediktsson (Independence Party) and Estonian entrepreneurship minister Rene Tammist (SDE).

"Created by Estonians, X-Road is a flexible, highly secure and cost-effective solution for the exchange of data between state institutions. For us, this is an ideal solution for improving Iceland's public services and IT infrastructure," Mr Benediktsson said after the meeting.

"We are making great efforts to update Iceland's public sector systems. We are very excited to implement new technologies and hope to cooperate more closely than before with Estonia and Finland. A joint data exchange platform in the form of X-Road creates a good basis for that," he continued.

Mr Tammist said after the meeting that Estonians are expecting strong partnership from Iceland also in the further development of the X-Road.

"Digital technologies are constantly evolving and we also expect Iceland's contribution to the further developments of the X-Road. In order to develop the data exchange platform, we in cooperation with Finland have established the non-profit association Nordic Institute for Interoperability Solutions (NIIS) and are also inviting Iceland to join it," Mr Tammist said, according to a ministry press release.

Both public and private sectors involved

Iceland is reportedly to start using the X-Road platform for secure national data exchange within both public and private sectors.

"With the expansion of the X-Road to Iceland, it will be possible to present an example to Sweden and Norway, too. The more countries using the same technology, the easier it will be to develop international cooperation. We can also facilitate the movement of information for people's travelling and employment abroad," Mr Tammist continued.

In adopting X-Road technologies, Iceland is following the example of its near neighbour, the Faroe Islands, as well as fellow Nordic nation Finland, which was the first country outside Estonia to adopt X-Road.

Finland's use of X-Road and its proximity to Estonia has facilitated cross-border data exchange. The two countries are also developing the exchange of digital prescriptions, separately from the X-Road platform. Finnish digital prescriptions can reportedly already be used in Estonia to obtain medicines, with the reciprocal arrangement being on the horizon too.

Iceland, a NATO member, has also signed up for the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence (CCDCOE), based in Tallinn.

"Next to data exchange, cyber security is an important aspect of a digital state,'' Mr Tammist continued.

''More and more crime takes place in cyberspace, and every country must learn to protect its citizens from threats. As a result, we support Iceland joining the CCDCOE," the minister continued.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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