Besides having one of the best IT infrastructures, the lowest corruption rates and being one of the most politically stable countries in Central and Eastern Europe, Estonia boasts very high cyber security levels (seventh in the world), no corporate income tax on reinvested profits and the lowest public debts in the EU.
As a member of the Euro zone, EU, NATO and OECD, Estonia is a front runner in applying modern IT solutions. Estonian engineers have designed a data validation technology that proves algorithmically the time, location and integrity of electronic data independently from any human being or trusted third party.
The e-Estonia success story has become possible due to a few clever decisions that concecutive Estonian governments have made in building an electronic government infrastructure.
In March 2000 Estonian government passed the law which gave digital signatures the same legal weight as traditional signatures. That paved the way for many e-services that have made the life in Estonia a lot easier and efficient for companies as well as for private persons.
The same year – 2000, our government started to use the e-Cabinet system which allowed conduct cabinet meetings entirely without paper. The average length of weekly cabinet meeting reduced from 5 hours to 30 to 90 minutes.
The E-Tax Board was introduced also in 2000. By 2015, 95% of all tax declarations were filed electronically.
Another crucial landmark for e-Estonia was the introduction of the digital highway X-Road via which all systems communicate and which allows create integrated e-services. To ensure security, the system uses timestamps and keeps records on who has been accessing what. Now Estonia is creating conditions for transnational data exchange and by 2016 Estonian and Finnish X-Roads will be able to communicate. As of 2016 there are over 2500 services connected to the X-Road. A few more popular examples:
In 2005, Estonia became the first country in the world to hold nation-wide elections using i-Voting, and in 2007, Estonia made headlines as the first country to use i-Voting in parliamentary elections. I-Voting is a system that allows voters to cast their ballots from any internet-connected computer, anywhere in the world.
The Republic of Estonia is the first country to offer e-Residency — a transnational digital identity available to anyone in the world interested in administering a location-independent business online. e-Residency additionally enables secure and convenient digital services that facilitate credibility and trust online.