President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, who is currently on a working visit to the Unites States, has met with the directors of Microsoft and a number of other global IT companies in Silicon Valley to discuss the future of e-governance and e-services.
President Ilves, who has headed up the European Cloud Partnership Steering Board for the last two-and-a-half years at the behest of the European Commission and chaired the expert committee convened by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the organisation which oversees the technical administration of the Internet, gave the well-respected IT companies operating in the United States an overview of Estonia as an e-state.
The use of cross-border e-services in both enterprise and the public sector was discussed during the meetings, as well as key issues related to it, including the content of information shared by countries, guaranteeing privacy and the legislation required for cooperation.
The Head of State gave the partnership between Estonia and Finland in the development of a single data exchange layer as an example, saying: "This is an area that needs significantly greater political will among European countries and the laws to go with it if what Estonia and Finland are doing is to go pan-European – and that's the result Estonia's aiming for."
Developments in cloud technology and cyber defence were also discussed during the meetings. President Ilves took the opportunity of being in the Unites States to emphasise that while recent scandals have made the privacy of digital data a subject for public debate, a more serious matter is the violation and distortion of data, which can endanger people's lives and the infrastructure needed for society to function.
The Head of State said that resolving issues regarding the secure storage of data will be an important area in the future, including the storage of data records beyond state borders. "This is an area that demands ever greater technical contributions," he said.
While in California President Ilves met with representatives of such respected technology companies as Microsoft, Guardtime, import2, Bracket Computing, Tanium, Jumio, CipherCloud, Crowdtilt, Local Motion, OpenGov, GoodData, Chertoff Group, Pipedrive and Marinexplore and of the risk capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.
Tomorrow the Head of State will be delivering a lecture on the developments in, opportunities presented by and threats facing the digital society at Stanford University and meeting with Singaporean Minister for IT Yaacob Ibrahim.
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Ilves discusses future of digital society with IT entrepreneurs in California