Anett Numa

Digital Transformation Adviser for e-Estonia

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Efficiency, zero bureaucracy, transparency- the formula of successful e-governance in e-Estonia

“Digital transformation” is one of the favorite buzzwords of top leaders worldwide, but the Covid crisis revealed the weaknesses of most governments or administrations in terms of digitalization.
Outdated tools, complex processes, bad UX for the citizen or lack of accessibility. Covid has been the ultimate stress test.

But few countries in the world have achieved true e-government.

This is the case of Estonia 🇪🇪, a tiny European country, the size of Switzerland with one-fourth of its population. Estonia is known to be a world leader in technology and for having digitalized most of its government services. Electronic identity (eID), e-Health, e-Voting have all become a reality, with concrete benefits for its population.

Our next guest, Anett Numa, Digital Transformation Adviser for e-Estonia, will share with us how they’ve built the first “digital society” and give us a glimpse of how the future of our governments might look like.

Anett Numa

Having lived and studied in different countries, Anett has learned to appreciate living in a digital society. Anett believes that all processes and structures of public services should be accessible and simple for every single citizen.

Based on her academic background in political science, Anett focuses on enhancing good cooperation between the public and private sector to create a comprehensive and supportive environment. Her goal as a Digital Transformation Adviser at the e-Estonia Briefing Centre is to explain the Estonian digitalisation
experience and thus inspire leaders and decision-makers alike to create a better tomorrow.

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[Steph Cruchon] Hello everyone, welcome to Itoday Apéro number five I’m super excited to have all of you guys live we have an amazing crowd today and people are coming so this is really really great to have everyone live can I ask you to turn on your camera and just say hi to the camera everyone yeah you can hear the crowd right cool thank you so much for joining live this Itoday Apéro number five!

So if you don’t know what an “apéro” is, it’s kind of a tradition in Switzerland or
France a bit like a happy hour and the idea is to drink wine with friends you don’t need to drink wine you can drink whatever you want but with friends it’s a casual talk and basically, it’s just a good time that you spend with friends and it’s really really something that
that yeah that people enjoy in here so the tradition because we have a little tradition
it’s this my family are winemakers and we love wine in here and we drink wine during the apero so if you have wine if you’re watching and you have one in your fridge just go get some wine
or something else to drink and we’re gonna drink together it’s gonna be cool and I have
three bottles of wine the first one we’re gonna open it in front of you and drink it
during the talk the second one the second one is gonna go to Estonia today because Anett is
gonna get the second bottle of wine for her hard work today and the third bottle of wine
is gonna go to one of you in the world. Not the people who are watching, the people who are live who will ask some great question or interact or just engage and it’s Anett who’s gonna choose who is the lucky person who is gonna get the bottle of wine we are crazy we send worldwide so even if you live super far like like Estonia we’re gonna send you your bottle of wine how good does it sound?

yeah I see that that you look pretty happy here so this is good
so we are based in Lausanne Switzerland and our amazing guest today is Anett Numa and she’s gonna be live from Tallinn Estonia! So just a bit of context of why we wanted to invite Anett so much maybe if you have followed a bit the news or the press there is a horrible pandemic out there that’s called the COVID pandemic crisis and we are based in Switzerland and you know we people weren’t totally happy about the reaction of the country and especially the government especially we are a very innovative country in general, but we felt that you know our tools were a bit outdated they weren’t working well during the pandemic. Just to give you one example: doctors during the first wave of COVID they had to send some paper faxes to
the administration to signal the new Covid cases! it sounds crazy 2021 but yeah that was the case this year and you know Switzerland is a really lucky country has a lot of assets: very
innovative in general but we are not good at being digital… and I guess it’s the case for a lot of countries so we thought what can we do we are designers we are makers we like to help
what could we do to help our country and maybe your country to just get better at digital
and we thought there is one country in the world that is the world’s most digital country little
the tiny state of Estonia and today I’m so proud to welcome Anett Numa because she’s, wait for it: digital transformation advisor for the e-Estonian government the first online fully online
government and you told us just before that you are also officially a diplomat so this is
really really great to welcome you tonight thank you so much for joining Anett please
everyone I would like a big round of applause for Anett Numa from Tallinn Estonia please
so I really haven’t heard any of claps for some time I used to do that every single day
and when I have been talking about my job to my friends it’s like like how can you find something better where I can hear applauses every single day and this was used to be my life before the Covid crisis right now I only see the faces over already seen here but but first of all

[Anett Numa] Thanks for having me over here today I really really appreciated this invitation from your side and I’m always happy to hear what Estonia has been doing here and as we agreed with as well that it’s not going to be just something boring at the end of your day
you have to see the slides and the numbers and everything but let’s just make it more fun
and let me just like make it a little bit more clear for you how did this very tiny
states in northern side of the world has been able to go so crazy with digitalizing
absolutely everything and so when steph also said now that I’m gonna be
the one choosing who is gonna get the wine model then definitely this person is have to
be as active as possible today so I’m gonna keep my eyes on you and see how many questions
actually maybe we can ask you just to write where you are right now in the chat so we kind of get to know you and where you are based and where you’re calling from thank you so much Anett
to join us so my first question basically is just could you maybe introduce yourself
and I would like to know how come you got to that position of representing the e-state of Estonia yeah so that’s a very long story obviously i would just try to make that a little bit shorter.

So when I got the idea like the first place where I got the idea about like starting
to work in this sector was when I used to study in France some time ago I did part of my master’s in Lyon there in university and I was sitting in a class and I had one of my classmates who made a presentation about e-democracy and he was from holland but he talked about Estonia and I was sitting quietly in a class and just hearing someone else to talk about my country and the solutions that we are offering to people and I was thinking there
why I shouldn’t be in this position talking about my own country because I was like a realization for me. I didn’t understand how cool the society was where I lived before I returned back to Estonia after my studies and I was looking for the job offers in this Estonia briefing center for a very long time to be exact for two years I had the eyes on every kind of job advertisement there and I was just hoping that i will I would get the position there I gotta say that that this was like a lot from the first sight in a way when I finally got an in like interview there and I felt that this is the right position for me and luckily they felt the same way so right now what is my job is to consult different policy makers and and business leaders in order to help them to proceed a little bit faster their digital transformation
and as Estonia has had an experience for doing that for more than 20 years
so obviously we have got so many lessons and and so many experiences what to do and what not to do.

So so what we try to do today is that to make everyone aware what kind of things they should be
trying trying to avoid and what kind of things they should follow in a way and I gotta be
honest with you that there are no blue mondays for me still after two and a half years almost
because seriously it’s one of the most interesting jobs you can ever think of because what we do is that we try to map it in a way where one country is currently with their solutions and and and what’s missing how can we support him and and then we welcome the meter here or right now over the videos and try to really really like consult and help them with this entire
process because things are great here but now it’s time to help whilst others so that was just very short how did I get my job but seriously you just have to dream about something very very
like a lot and and and then things will start to happen

This is so great so we are actually
super lucky to to to to have you with us on the show because usually you talk to
you talk to politicians you go to yeah to meet presidents and this is so great to have you
as part of it apero so thank you so much maybe to give you to give us a bit of context can we ask you so I’ve read that this whole project of e-government started actually 20 years ago
in Estonia which sounds crazy because it feels to me we are just studying right now in Switzerland so maybe could you give us a bit of context and kind of like what was the timeline and
the big milestones of these last 20 years even even actually more the first document was
drafted to the parliament in a year when I was born so that was 27 years ago by the day and
and so in 1994, they attracted the first document to the parliament saying that okay now it’s time
to start digitalizing our estate in a way and the need for that actually came because
we had a very rough historical background if you guys know about Estonian historical background
we were under sewer tune in a good patient for way too long time and and and it was a very tough time
for us obviously and then in the year 1991 we finally regained the defendants very peacefully
and still like if you’re thinking about a state that has been under the control of another
country it’s a very difficult time for her country to start everything from a scratch so we were
lacking of money we didn’t have trust between the government agencies and the citizens and then
of course also there was not much transparency and the corruption level was very very high
and our new government was just like okay we need to do something we need to do something
completely different because if we’re gonna do things in the same way as rest of the people do
we’re gonna just fail and and fail like a big time and so they said because luckily some
of them had some kind of technology background already and and they were very young by the way
our former prime minister so who was who’s prime minister during that time
he was in his 30s a very young guy and and and these younger generations like they were a little
bit more I would say open to you to try things out and not and maybe take a little more risky
decisions in a way and and and they did so and they just said okay we don’t have any guarantee
that this is going to work but let’s try it let’s see how this would be start working so as I said
1994 the first document to the parliament and then step by step in the year 2002 so 19 years ago
we established the electronically identity cards already which is compulsory document
here in Estonia today and so since then everyone needed to have this electronical
way of identifying themselves when they use online services and then again it has
never happened overnight obviously this is what i want everyone to understand it’s been a process
that you work so so hard to make solutions working online but maybe like is there
anyone who wants to guess which was the first service that we offered online for our citizens
which service was the first one that everyone could start using by the public I don’t know
like taxis exactly yes yes so taxes were these were this was the first solution that we started
offering by the end of 1999 since the year of 2000. and since then people have been
declaring their taxes online we just got the latest numbers that this year we had
tax declaration opened since february and and right now 98.7 I guess it was the final number
of our people have been declaring the taxes by using the online solutions 98
so it’s a very huge number and it could be that everyone are included for using services online
actually I’ve read that so I think the first e-id card was issued was in 2002 right
yeah and what i’ve read is that you Finland was already doing it but in Finland it wasn’t
mandatory to do to actually take a knee id and you decided to go like it’s gonna be mandatory
what was the gamble and how did the population react to that because
to to my understanding when you force people to do something they they will go the other way around
so let me start with the first side why we made it compulsory and then how people reacted so so
first of all I mean we have to be thankful for our finnish friends because we got this idea from
them obviously and they had this car before with it I mean finland as I said as a very liberal
country decided to do this in a way that we’re not going to make this compulsory. People have a choice
whether they want to have a card or no they can also just stick on a passport and that
that’s enough but think about this first for example for example if you would be in a position
of being a government member or just managing the entire state budget if you allow your citizens to
use either the passport or identity card then you still have to keep your services working
online and all some paper at the same time so basically you have to keep up
two different systems all the time which is a double ghost and tons of just confusion
and when we were just checking for the numbers like how many people actually
applied for the cards and and wanted to get the cards so it was only very like small
and and and today I was just checking that only around 40 percent the finnish population had the
card and in Estonia the number is 98. wow so that’s the difference but regarding how people
reacted to that I always say to the policy makers it’s your responsibility how do you communicate
these things to your people because the thing is if you come and say okay 40 years everyone
need to get the card you will get the card and you will get the card or whatever they say there
it’s not going to work people are going to be very mad and there’s going to be protesters on the
streets but if you’re going to say by using this card you’re going to save this amount of time you
can sign documents online you can use services online these are going to be your advantages if
you communicate the advantages to people and also provide them information how is the background
the infrastructure and your security coverage and then there is a great question from
from Cyril in the chat maybe do you want to ask sure hello Anett thank you for the talk my
question was following what were at that time the highest I mean the strongest reactions against the
card and what were the reasons yeah so first of all I want you to jump back to the year of 2002.
how many likes that was a very long time ago i just started my first first-class it was like very
young so if you think about back in that time i didn’t even I don’t even remember if I had like
a phone like a mobile phone or a computer at home back at that time it was a completely different
time so if we would start with this card today I’m pretty sure people there would be much more
people who would say oh well I know enough about this and I hear from the media and then there’s
tons of like people’s like spreading misinformation and disinformation about the cards
it wasn’t back in that time seriously that was a different time when people didn’t have these
questions because they were not just aware of these things and obviously it was again in our
hands to introduce this car to people and saying how does it work what’s the background how is
your privacy regulated there but when we talk about reactions I really don’t know if there
had been some kind of reactions from the citizens side but I know that there was some just political
conversations there and some of the conflicts that there were some political parties who were
against that and then the other ones were supporting so it’s obviously on a political level
there is always discussions when whenever you want to do something but from the cities inside
again that was fine but what we did which I find very cool was that we also went to different like
marketplaces so you have festivals I guess you’re also in Switzerland have some monthly festivals or
October that is a super cool event right I guess you also celebrate that in
Switzerland as in Germany so obviously if you go to that kind of events there’s
tons of people and it’s a fun event you know that the government representatives not like
specifically the ministers but people who work in public sector they went to these festivals
with a little tent there where they were introducing the id cards and just stopping people
and like have you got already your card how do you start using this how have you enjoyed this process
asking feedback for the people from your citizens is also important so that you would
show them that their opinion matters and if you ask this opinion and at the same time you
talk to them and you come on the same level so you’re not doing these things on in a military
level but you come to the same festivals that they go to and you are there you’re like I work in the
ministry of economics and communication here are the cards have you used them before let me let
me go and help you let me introduce how does it work it’s always how do you communicate things
so so that’s also equal in this reaction level because I find to think that
whatever problems these are questions people have in their heads education is able to solve
absolutely everything and it’s up to you in our hands this is great this is great the
you know like I’m just thinking is it that that you that you were so good at communication in
general that it worked or is it also that you are a small a little country and basically you
can be closer to your population like do you think this will work this strategy with a bigger country
i mean the message is the same you also have media platforms as we did back at that time um
the solutions are the same I mean it doesn’t matter how many people are back there like like
using this and what our or especially when i have been asking the same question from our riced
companies and asking do you think that it would be much more difficult to implement these
solutions in a bigger state and they usually start laughing and they’re just like where I really wish
as a company leader ceo that my solution would be used by 40 million people than just 1.3 million
people so the solution is still just one you just might need more developers and people who
are like actually working in the fields and then helping and helping to setting it up but but
but still there is also one president one prime minister in your country I mean the way they
communicate and I also feel that it’s respond like responsibility of very high level leaders to
communicate these things to people because they are like influencers in a way and
and today we have an amazing chance to also use some some some good influencers again that that
even younger generation or maybe other generation are listening to and communicating these
messages to people but of course you always have to be 100 transparent and honest because if you
lie about something it’s never gonna work and and we can later and also talk about what happened
near 2017 when we had the id card crisis here and and that was also one of very quick lessons
that we managed to communicate this threat that we had to people and ended up completely fine yeah
because I think at this point it’s important to to maybe explain that’s at the center of this
e-government there is the eid project by the way this was a project also in Switzerland it got
rejected a few weeks ago by the swiss population there was a popular vote and the swiss population
didn’t accept e-id I don’t think it’s because population is is opposed to it it’s more they
there was a an issue with the trust like like yeah like can we trust our government that they
have the capability of keeping our id safe and and all of this so how did you deal with that
and maybe if you can give us an overview of how yeah how this eid works yeah so so today 99 of
our services are fully functioning online right I mean all the eyes are an asset amendment
everyone are just looking if the security has been provided and if you don’t like violate the
privacy so security data protection is number one element there and where our focus currently is
but the most special thing about our system which i very much recommend other countries to follow
is that we have such wonderful thing called data tracker so I can log into my state portal
with my identity card and there is a data tracker where I can I can track which government agency at
what time of the day which kind of information have been looking up after me every time that
government agencies are exchanging my information or checking this even the private sector
institutions for example if my bank is checking for like I’m applying for a loan and I gave them
a permission to check above my police background or if I have any court cases or any other loans
if they do check my background I will get to know about this because we have everything time stamped
and encrypted and this gives me a feeling that i have the power over my information in my hands not
the other way around and this matters because if people understand that they are controlling
their information and who is able to see this information they feel much more secure because
if I’m especially comparing one case here that I would like to bring it out as an example
we also have all of our medical records online since 2007 something like this for a very long
time so I remember when I was a small kid and i went to see my family doctor and and she had
the books about like papers of the probations that were supposed to visit there already on a
table repaired in the morning I was one of the first ones in the morning and she left the room
because she needed to do some analyzes I don’t know she said I’m going to be back in 10 minutes
I had 10 minutes I mean that I could have used this time or just checking it like someone else’s
medical records because this information wasn’t paper and there would never have been any traces
that I have been checking this information yeah they this information is online and every single
time a doctor is let’s say they are stupid enough to leave their computer opened and I would just
go there type in a personal goat of my friend and see their medical records yeah what will happen is
that this information would go all the way to my friend’s data tracker and they could see that this
doctor who is who might not be like their tape doctor they would see that they were checking
their information and now what they’re going to do is that they’re going to report about this
and then the investigation will start and what will happen is that they would start investigating
and maybe see some of the cameras that i was in a room I was checking the information
and I would be punished or the doctor would be punished because she left the computer opened
do you trust to have your information on paper more than having this online when you have the
control seeing who is accessing your information that’s where we should start with so all of this
it works it’s based on the blockchain or how do you record all all of these transactions
transactions so so not entire system is unlike blockchain we do use blockchain in there in
around like I think it’s around like 10 top 12 different like registers that
are on psi blockchain and the medical records are fully on blockchain by the way
but but the data tracker works mostly because we have these extra systems so the data
exchange platform that encrypts and timestamps every single move that we do there but of
course when we talk about the blockchain and the KSI blockchain that we use in medical records
why this is so necessary there is because when one doctor I mean let’s say if you go and
see a doctor and say there was something wrong with you you have I don’t know a headache they
have to do usually around four different analysis maybe some of the tests then you go to whatever um
and one doctor I mean there is just one case of you there and then doctors are adding information
the psi blockchain makes sure that the next doctor who is adding information to your case is not able
to edit or delete any information that has been submitted by the other doctor so that everything
will be again tractable in a way and we put the hashes in every single move that we do and
we’re not like even moving the information but the hashes themselves but of course we’re not storing
any information or saving any information on blockchains because that would be against
your GDPR regulations yeah so so everything you do is GDPR compliance you really have to
to be yeah 100 we are the eu country and and GDPR regulation is our law as well great there is
there is a question from Frederic do you want to ask yeah sure hi Anett hi everyone hi I was
wondering with regards to the tracking concept you just talked about you know are you the only one
that has access to this is tracing or you can also give it to other people for other purposes
not that I’m aware of I mean obviously if there’s an investigation then you can you can
give this permission to someone else to see what’s in your in your logbook system but you are
still the owner there are exceptions for people for example who are sick and or very old
so that I can become also representative for some of my family members for example
so so if my grandmother is not able to use their systems anymore then I can
become a representative of her and and i can control her information there too
but having the overview of the data factor yeah I mean we we we don’t need to but of
course investigations police can maybe check that as well when we give a permission
but but of course as well like accessing our information is only possible for
for these institutions who are I would say who are proved to do so in a way so for example
if I’m applying for the loan from the bank then the bank obviously can’t just go randomly and
check my medicare records and make any requests to like to you to basically portal and ask for my
headaches because this is none of their business so every time the different registries want to
exchange my information they need to have mutual agreements which are signed and again so they
just ask information from one point to another but everything is is based on a one single policy
so we as a citizen I only submit information once at a time just to bring it out one of the
examples also I mean it’s clear for me but might be a mess for you so for example my home address
in Estonia is only stored in one single registry and this is population registry do you guys know
how many registries store your home address in Switzerland or whatever country you’re right now
joining us I guess I don’t know like 50 I mean yeah just think about like if you have moved
to a new place yeah how many different registries do you need to inform about your new home address
yeah it’s crazy because it’s all from it’s super it’s really yeah totally spread apart and
totally yeah I’m losing the world but like each state or each city has a different yeah
registry which is crazy and it’s annoying right for you as citizens to think about this to waste
your time like okay I moved I need to inform this institution there’s the other one and
then so on waste your time completely we only inform population registry and if anyone else then
wants to know where I live I know police wants to come over not on my door maybe someone
wants to send me something from whatever like you I don’t know what might be the reasons um
then they request this information from population registry not to me and why
we do that in a way first of all it’s much more secure if information is decentralized not like
just centrally stored in one single place together and and then of course also to make
the life of citizens much easier so that they wouldn’t have to remember these things
by themselves yeah actually I read you know because I prepared that talk a little bit
I read that the average Estonian citizen saves what five days per year
just by signing documents online so this is only with one solution oh wow so so did you quantify
the whole time saving of the whole government we really tried but we currently are trying to
find a university that would do this kind of research because we really don’t have time for
that because you have had things working online for 20 years how can you compare this to something
like how much time do I save but with just signing documents online it’s five days per every single
citizen and raise the hands people who wouldn’t like to have extra week of vacation i
would say no for extra week of vacation because i mean you can save your time so and by the
cost part for the government this is around two percent of GDP every year that we spare,
we say you buy by using the online signatures and by the way this money is equal to the money
that we spend on defense and security to be like a member of nato I mean which one is more important
okay so okay when you present it that way why do you think so many countries including Switzerland
that are so so slow or so reluctant to to go all online what are the reasons so I have had this
conversation especially with countries where life is pretty great I would I would bring out
some of the most like best places to live as just the light quality I mean it’s Switzerland it’s
canada it might be france there on the list i mean there are many many countries there where
the life is absolutely fantastic right I mean if you are in a good position usually I mean
things are working fine for you do you feel a need of having a huge change in the system because what
i have seen for example countries like Germany when we have politicians from Germany visiting
they usually say well I mean things are working we have been doing these things like this and
for years why should we change yeah and I’m like because your citizens are like craving
for this chains because they’re tired of doing things on paper I mean just a comparison here
I know that in Germany setting up a new business would take around five weeks time
and you need to visit at least six different institutions to get the permission I mean all
registration houses and so on in Estonia we register a new business with just half an
hour without having to leave our homes and and and Estonia currently has the highest level
of unicorns per capita in the european union i mean we already have a seven unicorns so companies
whose revenue is more than one billion euros I mean why is that because where business is
easy business will grow and if you have built an infrastructure that lets people to focus on their
ideas but not on going to different institutions doing all the registration process and maybe after
five weeks they’re already tired because that was an exhausting process so let them to be I don’t
know let them to travel somewhere and get inspired there and let them open their company immediately
I guess this is the key here yeah because it’s it’s something I don’t know if it’s very
known but I think Skype was invented in Estonia right or Transferwise is from Estonia as well
and yeah like also my question is like it’s because you had that ecosystem of startups and
tech companies that you have been able to do it or it’s because the government
went really fully online that fast that you managed to create that context I would say um
there are so many aspects there I can’t say that there is one like one single answer here but
I guess it’s a combo of different things obviously but definitely there has
been a very huge collaboration between the private sector and public sector since very early days and
and I guess the government members shouldn’t be there in their positions and just thinking
hmm what we would do next but what they should be doing is that they would need to have private
sector company leaders being sitting on exact same table with them and these are the people that
they should be asking what are the next steps we should be taking because I mean I work for the
government and my salary is made by the taxpayers in Estonia I mean they have employed me in a way
and and and I need them to have a good life and and things need to be working nice in private
sector so that I could be working here so I work for people not the other way around and
and this is the thing that it’s in my opinion elementary we should understand about that first
and then work fully together with private sector companies do you understand what they have
to offer to us and what are their needs and and so that we can do this all together because
i mean there is there is no different sectors in my opinion but it’s it’s a one society that needs
work hands and hands this is super interesting actually and I think that was one of the key issue
with the vote in Switzerland because like the population didn’t accept that idea of eid at least
as of today because the government said basically it will be managed by private companies
and people felt really bad about you know that the government will give our data personal data
to private companies like could be banks or insurance companies so yeah what is the right
mix like should the government own all of these and create all the all the technology or should
we should they distribute you know some parts but not not all of it like what is your take on that
I really don’t understand why people had to be against that because unless tony everything is
managed by private companies I mean I seriously i have met tons of different government members
across the world and i’ve never met a government who would be able to do these things by themselves
yeah honestly I mean we don’t have people working in public sector who would be having
like this technology background and who would be developers themselves we need to buy these
solutions from private sector and and just one thing needs to be clear here a state needs to be
smart enough to sign agreements with the private sector company so that they are not the owners of
anyone’s private like private information they’re just there to store this information and we even
have regulations that they can’t even see this information but they are just storing them and and
and luckily we have all like I mean usually they don’t even store our information but under our
names but we all have personal goats so just a number that you have been given already when
you were born and the number is just nothing also I don’t know a random number that they would
just give it to you which many many different especially if they’re very religious are against
but the numbers are or something that belongs to me because it has my gender it
has my birth date it has a city where I was born and then the last number is calculated between
the other ones because obviously I wasn’t the only lady born in the state on this day in the city so
so that’s and then it’s just like it’s just like a number and it’s easier than to first of all to
exchange information and secondly also to store this so that you wouldn’t be violating anyone’s
privacy there so so definitely if you’re interested in in this process in Switzerland
I’m not aware how what kind of agreements or or just ideas that they have by the story but just
make sure that you’re not against something that is actually safe seriously you need to understand
and private sector is not a bad thing and and and one more thing then I understood that someone
has a question there are two people with questions our former president mr Hendrik he liked to say
in many conferences that we shouldn’t be afraid of a big brother but we should be afraid of a
small sister big brother as we all know should be someone who is looking going after our information
from the public sector and controlling right there is no such person existing here but we should be
afraid of a small sister can anyone guess who is a small sister and we should be so much afraid of
who has an idea I have no idea like is it a is it another country that is an enemy country
think about this a small sister that we should be afraid of when it comes to data and your
private information are you having any kind of concerns in your head if you post something
to facebook on your social media platforms i mean facebook google twitter linkedin all these
kind of platforms are the small sister because are you 100 sure that they’re not selling your
information to someone else I mean this is what they do facebook does that all the time they sell
your private information to you I don’t know to other private companies and they are
getting money from that is our government getting any money that they’re storing our information
no because they’re not checking that and if they would do that
i would be informed are you ever getting any notifications when someone from who works
for facebook or google will check your private information and and and sells this to someone else
and this is a small sister that you should be afraid of great so
we have I think two questions so one from Federico and one from Cyril so first Federico
hello Anett and hello everyone thank you for this webinar I’m really enjoying it my question
Anett is is the following I have read in a couple of places that like the key issue the uniqueness
of the Estonian involvement and digitalization has to do that from the very beginning what you try to
achieve was to radically change the bureaucratic system not to take what existed let’s say
you know there are countries that have 70 taxes okay let’s have 70 taxes being paid online
we have you know 200 bureaucratic procedures let’s have two 200 procedures being done online but to
dramatically change that radically change simplify do you agree with this how do you
see it thank you absolutely that that’s a very good point here and and having a zero bureaucracy
was this the name of the strategy I would say the secret name of the strategy because
bureaucratic processes I mean they’re annoying and they waste money and time and everything
from public sector rights and they make people angry so so definitely we did these
things very drastically by changing the entire system and trying to find ways to take this
radical level down the zero and especially today as hopefully soon we have time to also
talk about the future because we have some some wonderful future plans where we are planning to
make everything working proactively so that honestly there would be zero bureaucracy so
that you as a citizen wouldn’t even have to do anything but the services the benefits to
I don’t know like whatever like services that you can even think of
would be offered for you proactively so that you wouldn’t have to reach out to government
agencies and asking for them and this is something that is is pretty special
amazing so we have a question from Cyril who really wants to win the bottle of wine
we have some but thanks it’s more about the topics it’s it’s really interesting thank you so much for
for putting that together it’s it’s in the same direction as as the question before I just have
the impression that what you did and what we feel is to do a bit like Steph is putting the customer
in the center what do customers need and I have the impression that
our government during the last decades or even 20 years haven’t done anything like that but
also you said because people they don’t see the value when you don’t see the value you don’t see
a reason to change and it’s only when you say out loud well you’re gonna save five days per year in
a time queueing for changing your papers you’re going to save so much money for
your government why why don’t we see those numbers more often do you think because
i’ve read a lot about about digital transformation but that’s the first
time i’ve heard those shocking numbers and I want to know why
well that’s a good question now and honestly we’ve been trying to to promote these numbers and and
to I would say to market them a little bit more so that everyone would understand about that but
but that’s one of the reasons why the Estonia briefing center was was built in a way because
in in 2019 where the borders were still opened we hosted more than 11 000 people physically in
Estonia at the Estonia briefing center and and that was a place where you could make people to
you I would say to crave for digitalization and these solutions because what we do at the briefing
center rooms is that we actually show people how these things work and and talk about the numbers
and and and so then they go home and then they gonna start really really craving for for these
things I mean you can’t crave for the things that you’re not aware of right and this is what I see
especially and then what’s your point as well you have to see life in a better side and to be
actually craving for that if you live in a small village and you have never seen how is life in
paris then you can never dream about like being in paris but but if you have been there and
and then you can you can start off wishing things to be in the same way so so definitely I guess
we should do a little bit more work even on also promoting the advantages and
and the numbers and everything so that people would understand about this but
but but I really wish that they could be also I’m a very big fan of the european union
but I guess that could there should be also a little bit stronger approach from the eu side
regarding these numbers and and pushing people to you to start taking the actual steps because
i mean the pandemic time was was a clear example to us that it is already too late we should have
done these things over the years and years and especially when it comes to medical records which
are not online in in most of the countries so so yeah I guess that’s the key there
so so about that sorry sorry just yeah just to conclude so I think citizen tend to
forgive more things to the government than they do to private companies if I’m not happy with
the phone if I’m not happy with my car I’m gonna I’m gonna ask for more and I’m gonna change it
and I think what happens with with everything we have to deal with the government we can’t
change I can’t say oh I’m going to go to Estonia it seems to be to work way better I can’t I can
do that and if we could I think government will be playing the same competition as private company to
put customers in the center and to be okay what can we do to serve them better but since there
is no competition and this is what we said in the chat before it’s like well it has been like that
for the last 20 years what should we change and just it’s it enraged me so that was it sorry for
you that I also I just wanted to say Estonia also have this fantastic thing called the e-residential
card so that everyone even like you in Switzerland or paris or we have people from Norway joining um
so that you can be there but you can become an Estonian here is the decade and you can start your
business in Estonia without actually physically being in Estonia or never coming to Estonia and
then we’ve had around I guess from Germany right now we have right I guess it
was around seven thousand six seven thousand people who in in the past five years already
have have gotten the card that was a wake-up call for Germany and and we received so many
again policymakers coming to Estonia because they were like hmm our people are starting to register
in their business in Estonia there has to be something there and and that was a point where
they realized okay we’re gonna stop using people because they’re gonna go somewhere and register
their business in an environment that is it’s more flexible and and that’s the key there I mean if
people are starting to saying okay you’re not changing anything internally in our country I’m
done with this I’m gonna go somewhere else where things are working fine but what you can do as
i said that you can’t do anything you can do you can become a politician and then make the changes
run your campaign of of making Switzerland fully digital states and then I can promise
to you that I will ask my friends in Switzerland to vote for you great so so I don’t think we
are yeah we are we’re going into politics right now but the yes so question about
about government by itself like you said it’s not the government who should build these solutions
it’s way too technical and they are politicians but like what is the percentage of politicians
in Estonia who are tech savvy and who have a role like yours you know into digital very hard to
bring out some of the numbers what I what I do know is that it becomes more and more popular to
know about these things because we we like to collect the data in order to make smarter
decisions and and that’s why you need to be tech savvy to heroes so so we have tons of people
who work in different ministries almost in every of our ministry we have the innovation department
where obviously far people are very tech savvy even in our prime minister office there is
there is a different department who is responsible for for the digitalization aspects so
i would say more and more and and what I have also seen that some of our former ministers
when they have finished their jobs they have moved all the way to the private sector and in ict parts
which is super cool as well in in my opinion that they they finish their time being a politician or minister and then they’re going to move on onto the private sector and will start working for it sector because why not and and so I see this becoming more popular do you think it’s important to be elected at a prominent position in Estonia the no president or prime minister to understand digital or it’s still the case no other way around so I mean to be working on a field is in my opinion where everyone should start I I’m not a big supporter of young people going all the way to politics and and just staying there but but they have to see the field first
and then do you understand like about like what kind of decisions they should be making because
they can see then that what is working what’s not working but that’s a different story here
great so there is a tough competition about the bottle of wine from Frederic he has a question
yeah no I just wanted to go back to serious topic and ask you know about the development of
the e-id concept you know do you feel like that the tech choice that you made to support the product
influenced a lot like the functionalities and the interactions possible at the end or was
it the other way around where you really said you know we want those features we want those
way of interacting to to be possible and then we will find the tech or create the tech for it
the thing is that the id card has changed also in time and and quite a lot because obviously i
guess the most difficult thing about like just developing digital services in public sector
is that you have to keep up with the chains of technology and hackers are getting smarter um
i mean systems are getting more advanced and then obviously it’s up to you also to keep up with
this so definitely what we did in a right way i was the data exchange platform first of all
like how do we exchange information and then and the decision that the card should be used
both by the private sector and also by the by the public sector there was some kind of
just link infrastructure and the basis and the framework that we did by the id card that was that
was very very okay and fine and good but of course again the technical background has been
changing in time drastically and will continue to do so because as I said in 2017 we had some
kind of crisis with this because there was there was someone like a researcher or something
who who discovered a threat in a system and and they addressed this to the the government and
and they investigate investigated this and and it turned out to be the actual threat what we did
was the prime minister was talking on tv and said everyone who had been issued the car between this
time please do you go use your cards online and just update this entire like security system there
again I mean you have to be open for the changes in assistance you I think actually
i read it was the very first time a whole country got attacked right 2007 was the attack 2017
was just the the id card crisis but 2007 we we had some internal crisis here as we’re
live so I’m not going to go in details with who at that guest Estonia but I mean we can all guess
that’s a little sister and and and that was a wonderful lesson by the way to us because that
was like not brandon or saying like okay there is a threat and then we need to address this um
and of course we got some lessons luckily we didn’t lose any information only some of the
private sector like banks were attacked and and then the media platform were taken down but
none of the government inflation was it was leaked there’s like I don’t know it’s just attacked
in a way because of the exotic system and everything was decentralized but but of course we
since then we started focusing much more on on the security aspects and and a year after nato
brought it cyber security headquarter ccde to Estonia italian do you ever come to visit there
the headquarters is right over here if anyone is interested in working in cyber fields come all the
way here working and work in Tallinn with nato experts and you can live in this beautiful
city there is actually a fascinating con concept it’s data embassy can you talk a bit about that
so I guess everyone also in your everyday life you sometimes still like to have backup plans when
you’re taking some risks or doing something new then you’re still thinking about what if things
gonna go wrong or what if something very bad is happening having a backup plan is always a great
thing and and helps us to sleep more peacefully Estonian backup plan is called data embassy
and our data embassy is based in luxembourg today and what is the data in this there is that we have
backed up 10 of our registries and institutions to use servers in luxembourg so there is a backup
store in luxembourg servers and and and lively which is put information there so if something
would happen here we could get this information back from from the luxembourg server so there is a
backup store and and and why this is necessary because we can never be served that there is no
like I don’t know a huge storm I mean in Estonia there are usually no stores but think
about a country that would be caribbean and there is are always storms and and and if you
have even your server places then you should have a backup store somewhere else too any guesses
why Estonia chose luxembourg as a first place for our state embassy why luxembourg is special that
we were like okay because because not Switzerland i don’t know well there are many reasons for that
obviously I mean first of all they had a very great infrastructure secondly also they
they had some competence in this sector and and then one important thing in my opinion is that um
luxembourg is also a politically very independent country so I don’t know any country who would be
in patrons with luxembourg I mean yeah we are pretty independent in other ways and so obviously
we can’t choose countries who are in fights with with other countries all the time because we can’t
trust that there but but the server there it’s actually based on the vienna convention so
like having a like the physical embassy the same regulations apply but there are no people working
there or just like like an embassy but but this server room where our stuff is stored there and
no one by the way can access this room if you’re not Estonian if there is even a fire
even on in a case of a fire no one from from luxembourg can can entrance the room without um
Estonian being there that’s crazy so you need extended firemen to come to extinguish the fire
yeah which takes quite a lot of time I guess so yeah so so maybe to wrap up and maybe if you
guys have questions don’t hesitate to add them in the chat we still have a couple of minutes um
so my last question really is about what’s the future for for the e-government of Estonia
how much better can you make it and yeah what are your plans
the future looks very bright in my opinion we have some great plans so we’re working on having
a very much proactive government so as I said before we want we want to be the ones that are
approaching to people and saying okay you can get the benefits you can get this service like
whatever so we would like to remind them things beforehand that they would even think about these
things and and and one of the examples just to bring it out what the proactive government means
when a baby has been born here in Estonia then the doctor is going to register a baby’s birth
parents will officially become parents and then they can register a as baby’s name online without
having to go anywhere and then automatically proactively the government system it can be also
in the middle of the night will contact you by the email which is again automated and we’ll let you
know that congratulations on your newborn baby you are now able to get also your family benefits
so we will kindly ask you to choose now if if a mother is going to stay home for the entire time
or if you want to divide this so if you want one year for for the mom to stay at home
and then like half a year the dad will stay at home and and and then you choose these things and
then you confirm your bank account and then you will get the money I mean this is how we want to
like reach out to people so that they could they could be focusing on the baby and
and and just like their their family stuff not on on asking us something and then of course also
ai technology will be something very essential because we have been replacing just in last
year already 50 public services by ai technology this is linked to justice sector mobility sector security sector in in so many different ones of course also more and more in healthcare sector
so so ai technology proactive services and of course also cross-border data exchange and so that
we already exchanged information on a cross-border level with some of the countries that are
on the same level that we are today so I really really do hope that
all of these plans are going to work out then and our citizens will get the best customer experience that they can even dream about their way great i think that was the the the world of the end

thank you so much Anett for being with us tonight we are super honored
to have welcome you so everyone I would like a big round of applause for Anett Numa please
thank you so much that was really really great by the way so Frederic and Cyril
were battling fiercely to win that bottle of wine who do you think should deserve to get the wine it’s so difficult to make that decision because I was I was just hiding in my head
these two people here let me do this in a way because it’s very hard to use
for my side just because you asked almost the same question like almost the same amount of questions maybe you can just tell me which city you are at the moment and I’m
gonna choose the city that i liked more I mean Lausanne…
no but I think you should actually read the chat because one of them said it’s Frederic, he said
he doesn’t really drink wine so I think you should give it a series okay so that goes all the way

okay cheers thank you so much Anett for being with us tonight and thank you
everyone for attending live this was “Itoday Apero” number five, and have a great evening
see you thank you so much thank you very much bye everyone!