Summary of What a Digital Government Looks Like

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What a Digital Government Looks Like summary
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Imagine a utopia where you can file your tax returns, vote, register a new business, apply for social security, and much more – effortlessly online. In the Baltic state of Estonia – dubbed E-stonia due to its status as the most digital society on the planet – this seemingly quixotic fantasy is a reality. According to e-governance expert Anna Piperal, Estonian citizens can conduct almost all their interactions with public bodies online and with minimum exertion. As a result, citizens trust the government and the government trusts its people. What a novel concept!

About the Speaker

E-governance expert Anna Piperal is an ambassador for e-Estonia, Estonia’s initiative to simplify citizen interactions with the state.

 

Summary

Estonia has embraced a digital society.

When Estonia gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, the country lacked an institutional foundation. It had “no infrastructure, no administration, no legal code.” This havoc gave the country carte blanche to design new systems and – with the help of forward-thinking cryptographers and coders – “the most digital society on Earth” emerged from the chaos.

For example, Estonians have been able to file their tax returns online since 2001, and citizens have been voting online since 2005. Aside from a few scenarios where face-to-face interactions are compulsory – such as collecting an official ID document, getting married or divorced, or selling property – all other public services are available online. The country has largely eliminated bureaucracy, and major government offices are paperless.

E-governance in Estonia has excelled because it prioritizes the needs of its citizens...


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