Australia has a ‘false understanding of privacy’, says Europe’s top rated CIO

One of the world’s most digitally advanced governments, Estonia put all of its public services online over a decade ago. Its CIO, Taavi Kotka, says it makes no sense to give vast amounts of data to Google but prevent government using your information.

“We are all numbered. It’s not a political question, it’s an engineering thing,” says Taavi Kotka (pictured), chief information officer at the Estonian government and deputy secretary general of ICT at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications.

Estonia is perhaps the world’s leading country when it comes to fully integrated e-government. Estonians can vote over the internet, health records are available no matter where you are, and it takes 18 minutes to start a company online.

And if the unthinkable happened and Estonia’s giant eastern neighbour, Russia, decided to throw its weight around again, the country would even be able to run itself remotely, with the parliament and courts having the ability to be run from outside the country. “Data embassies” store public records at a range of offshore locations around the globe.

Last year it was announced Estonia would join the United Kingdom, Israel, New Zealand and South Korea to form the D5, or digital five, a global network of the tech-savvy countries.

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