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President Kaljulaid at the Cyber & Innovation listening session

President Kaljulaid at the Cyber & Innovation listening session © Raigo Pajula


A quarter of a century ago when Estonia restored its independent statehood we were a poor country. The crucial question stood in front of us – how to overcome the legacy left to us by the Soviet occupation? Our response was – we need to build up a modern, efficient and democratic state. We carried out radical reforms in all spheres of life. Our principle idea was to harness the innovative potential of ICT. We have since discovered that smart and knowledgeable use of ICT is an efficient tool for bringing about fundamental changes in governance. The benefit to government institutions, businesses and citizens from e-services offered by government and also private businesses far outweighs the cost of investment made to create and maintain these e-services.

Today, we live in a digital age. And I am proud to be the president of the only digital society that has a state. A society where technology is thoroughly interwoven into the everyday life of people.
This year also marked the tenth anniversary of the cyber-attacks that hit Estonia in 2007. Ten years on, it is clear that the decision made by Estonia not to withdraw, but stay and fight for the security of our cyberspace was the right one. We have high-functioning e-government infrastructure, reliable digital identity, a system of security measures that is obligatory for all government authorities, and a central system for monitoring, resolving and reporting cyber security incidents.

We have come a long way and I am glad to be able to share with you some Estonian ICT innovation and cyber security measures. The base line is that the effects of the digital development on society go far beyond the economy. The size of a country does not matter so much any more, technology allows us to become bigger than ourselves.