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Photo: Shutterstock.com / momonicky

Finding Your Identity: Solving the Digital ID Verification Challenge

A recap of the Global Government Forum’s Digital Summit, and how Estonia’s ‘X-road network’ enabled it to become a digital leader

Lauri Lugna, Permanent Secretary at Estonia’s Ministry of the Interior, explained that the internet is viewed as a tenet of society in Estonia. Policy is created with digital implications in mind, while the government works to gain people’s trust in its digital strategy.

“And the ‘cornerstone’ of Estonia’s digital architecture, he added, is its mandatory digital identity system: providing citizens with a secure, single identity running across government, the system supports secure data-sharing between departments – and beyond.”

Also vital to Estonia’s digital practice is that people maintain full control of their data, and know how much information is held about them and who has accessed it.

The X-road certainly is scalable, Lugna responded – “though the ICT companies wouldn’t be that happy, because they’re the ones who code all the connections between different databases.” Technically, the digital identity system is also fairly straightforward to replicate – but much of its value lies in its ability to put citizens in control of their own data, and this principle cuts across the laws and accountabilities governing data management in many countries

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