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Citizen Cyber Security

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Citizen Cyber Security

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Ain Aaviksoo, Deputy Secretary General for E-services and Innovation, Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs:

Point of view

Data must be controlled by the citizens themselves

“I think Estonia is a perfect example of a country where information sharing, together with value-adding services, has become so natural to people that they really demand and expect that more and more areas and services will become digital, to make it more convenient, to make it more effective. So we’re used to 15 minutes to report their taxes, and get our tax return back in 3 days; we become nervous when our tax authority and health insurance fund can’t exchange data fast enough. And the concern wasn’t about the fact that very sensitive data will be exchanged, because it is naturally assumed that it is secure, that the privacy rules are robust and that they are followed. This is because we have a transparent system where I, as a citizen, can see who has accessed my data, for what purposes, and that keeps the checks and balances right – I know that my data, even if done by different government agencies, will not be misused, and that gives me this expectation that they are using it for good purposes, that I get convenient and trustworthy services. One of the most important lessons that we’ve learned here in Estonia, and could share with others, is that if data is being controlled by the individuals themselves, there’s transparent system with legal and technological framework which gives them trust that the data will not be misused, and in those circumstances you offer value-adding services, then people will love the services – you can add more and more to them, and all their concerns around the privacy can be overcome with current understanding, technology and experience that we have.”