Be Like Estonia: How the Small Country became a Global Leader in Public Digital Security

Small European country Estonia, population 1.3mn, became the Global Leader, not for its trading volume, sovereign debt, or the cost of health care. No. Estonia leads in Public Digital Security. To safeguard all public-sector-data, local government is rolling out a technology called Keyless Signature Infrastructure (KSI).

What is KSI? It can hardly be explained in a simple manner. KSI creates hash values, which uniquely represent large amounts of data as much smaller numeric values. The hash values can be used to identify records but cannot be used to reconstruct the information in the file itself. The hash values are stored in a blockchain and distributed across a private network of government computers.

What does it mean for the public organization? It means the low risk to lose the data, or face the data fraud. Whenever an underlying file changes, a new hash value is appended to the chain, and this information can no longer be changed. The history of each record is fully transparent, and unauthorized tampering within or without the system can be detected and prevented. The transparency and security are the main benefits.

KSI allows government officials to monitor changes within various databases—who changes a record, what changes are implemented, and when they are made. So, even in the case of unauthorized access (there is no precedent still), it is possible to track the changes and those who made the changes.

Estonian health care system is also involved in this technology. The electronic health records of all Estonian citizens are managed using KSI technology, and the country is planning to make KSI available to all government agencies and private-sector companies in the country.

It is hard to evaluate the benefits of this technology in government institutions and the health care system. However, the single fact can overweight the dozens of counter-argument. Estonian population growth turned to positive in last years, while in the neighbor countries Lithuania and Latvia it remains negative.

So, blockchain is not just for financial institutions; government agencies can use this digital ledger technology to protect trusted records and simplify interactions with citizens. RAYS Networks develops the large blockchain based platform that can be used by public institutions.

Do you want to learn more and to become the early bird in RAYS community?

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