Estonia has gone a step further in global technology as the small Baltic state is ready to open the first data embassy in the world in Luxembourg early next year.
The heavily guarded server room will include significant Estonian e-government data so that NATO and euro zone members can access even when the systems are at home.
Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas said last month, “Data security and cyber security are generally important in terms of people’s trust and the functioning of services.”
“It is also an alleged important part of everyday digital hygiene in increasingly digitized societies,” he said.
Ratas announced his words after signing an agreement on the placement of Estonian data with Luxembourg counterpart Xavier Bettel.
“This is the world’s first embassy of the data,” Ratas said, referring to the fact that only 1.3 million small countries are called E-stony because they are pioneers in technology.
The Baltic state, one of the world’s most connected nations, made most public services accessible on a private state portal and even pioneered e-vote in 2005.
The capital, Tallinn, is home to NATO’s cyber defense center, where data experts from Europe and the United States are working to protect the information networks of the 29 member states of the alliance.
Several websites have gone offline, including two weeks on the offensive and websites of parliament, banks, ministries, newspapers and publishers.
A year later, Tallinn-based NATO cyber defense center went into operation.
Estonia’s attempts to use international cloud services to back up e-government data began in 2014, when the country merged forces with Microsoft to try to store a state newspaper on the cloud.
The data embassy in Luxembourg will back up to a significant extent information on taxes, land, businesses, identity documents, pensions, legislation and census.
“The main objective of the virtual data embassy is to guarantee the digital continuity of the country: when it is needed, it is the capacity to start the systems and receive data from externally stored versions,” said Emilie Toomela, the ministry of economy and communications.
“For this, Estonia needs additional server resources that must be fully controlled by Estonia, which means that Estonia must be subject to the same substance as its physical embassies (eg Immunity) – but should be outside Estonia,” he said.
Although there is a consulate in Luxembourg, Estonia’s Luxembourg and Belgian ambassador lives in Brussels.
Toomela said the data embassy will not be directly linked to the embassy in Brussels and there will be no one working there.
“Luxembourg was chosen because it is not owned by Estonia, and Luxembourg is ready to provide diplomatic privileges to Estonian data and information systems for high security, Tier 4 certified data centers in the state.”