Estonia All Set To Open World’s First Virtual Data Embassy

Estonia has taken yet another step forward in global technology, as the small Baltic state is set to open the world’s first data embassy in Luxembourg early next year.

The heavily protected server room will contain important Estonian e-government data, so that the NATO and eurozone member can access it even when systems are down at home.

Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas said last month that data security and cybersecurity are generally crucial from the perspective of both people’s confidence and the functioning of services. It is also an important part of so-called daily digital hygiene in increasingly digitising societies.

Ratas released the statement after signing an agreement with his Luxembourg counterpart Xavier Bettel on housing Estonian data there.
After five decades of Soviet rule ended in 1991, Estonia opted to go hi-tech as fast as possible, and still outstrips other members of the European Union, which it joined in 2004.

One of the most connected countries in the world, the Baltic state has made most public services accessible at a special state portal and even pioneered e-voting in 2005.

Its capital Tallinn is home to the NATO cyberdefence centre, where data experts from across Europe and the United States work to protect the information networks of the alliance’s 29 member states.

Estonia has bitter experience in the field: A politically charged dispute with its Soviet-era master Moscow in 2007 was marked by a blistering cyber-attack blamed on Russian hackers — though the Kremlin denied any involvement.

The attack lasted two weeks and took scores of websites offline, including those of the parliament, banks, ministries, newspapers and broadcasters.

One year later, the Tallinn-based NATO cyber-defence centre was up and running.

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