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Online Estonia

Here’s a nice little article about the former Soviet republic of Estonia, which is now one of the most Net-connected places on earth:

Dubbed E-Stonia by some, the country ranked No. 8 out of 82 countries in putting the Net to practical use in a recent World Economic Forum report. The country ranked No. 2 in Internet banking and third in e-government.

Last month, the government launched a one-stop home page for online state services. Estonians can use it to digitally sign government forms or legally binding contracts with other people.

The government also set up a site called “Today, I’m Deciding” to let citizens offer their own opinions on legislation. It’s got a chat room where they can debate the merits of bills or offer up legislation of their own.

One suggestion offered on the site, which is continually monitored by a webmaster in the prime minister’s office, called for easing restrictions on carrying swords in public.

Student fraternities, which use ceremonial swords in college rituals, proposed the change and left hundreds of online messages in support. The campaign succeeded.

Sure would be nice to have that kind of responsive government here, wouldn’t it? Of course, it would help if we had a higher percentage of our citizenry involved in the process, but that’s another rant for another day.

Best quote in the story:

“If a Frenchman loves to sip wine with his friends and a German enjoys his beer, then an Estonian likes to sit behind his computer on a dark evening, surfing the Net and at the same time talking on his mobile phone,” Estonian communications executive Toomas Somera once said.

Rock on, dudes.

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  1. e-Stonia

    AP: Estonia Blazes Internet Trail One of the man folks I’ve come across while blogging, Sam, is from Estonia. Some of my people were from Latvia and Lithuana before the locals decided to round up all the Jews and slaughter…

  2. Tuxedo Slack says:

    “In every city and every nation
    From Lake Geneva to the Finland station…”
    — Neil Tennant, c. 1987

  3. Gianna says:

    …all i remember about Estonians is for some reason they were always good guys in Tintin.