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How Estonia Turned Digital, Explained by its President

– World Economic Forum

Estonia’s president, Kersti Kaljulaid, discusses how using digital identity cards for almost 20 years has spurred on innovation, efficiency and wealth in the country

Kaljulaid questions why many governments’ services are of poorer quality than those offered by the private sector and explains that Estonia’s digitization creates trust in the government by its citizens, which analog societies lack.

“Why spend your life waiting in line for a piece of paper that proves you are you? Governments must learn to provide public services as efficiently as Amazon sells books: no physical presence, no cost of application, no opening hours.”

Kaljulaid outlines the benefits that universal access to technology has brought to the country, and highlights the legal protections around people’s identities, as well as the technical strategies in place to keep them safe.

Your personal data does not belong to the Estonian state. Just because it’s in the database doesn’t mean that Estonia owns it—it belongs to you. At any second you have the right to know and control what happens to this data

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