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Estonia’s Flagship Tech Conference Latitude59 Will Discuss Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, and Virtual Nation


This year’s Latitude59 will be held on May 31 – June 1 in Tallinn where startups and big players of the tech industry will be discussing topics like Virtual Nation, Artificial Intelligence, and Virtual Reality.

Until the end of 2015, there are special ‘early bird’ tickets to Latitude59 available for a price of € 59, from January 1 the ticket price will be € 159. 

The tech conference is expecting more than 1,500 handpicked entrepreneurs and innovators. Among the big players participating are tech-giants Google an IBM.

IBM will be introducing its Watson project at Latitude59.  It is a technology platform that uses natural language processing and machine learning to reveal insights from large amounts of unstructured data. Or put more simply – a computer system that is capable of answering complex questions posed in natural language.

One of the key sub-divisions of the Virtual Nation block of topics is e-Residency and building new services on its platform. Estonia’s e-Residency is a transnational digital identity that was revealed at last year’s Latitude59. Since then the project, also considered the world’s first government startup, has gained more than 7,500 e-residents. But e-Residency is not willing to stop there – its goal is to make Estonia the world’s biggest country that has only 1.3 million physical inhabitants. The e-Residency program has set a goal of recruiting 10 million e-residents by 2025.

Handpicked startups will be able to show what they have got at Latitude59’s demo area. This year the area is bigger than ever before, having room for 59 best startups. The event will also include pitching competitions for different stage startups.

Latitude59 means two days full of exciting discussions, cutting-edge Nordic and Baltic startups and countless networking possibilities. Latitude59 has become Estonia's flagship tech conference. It’s a great platform for all global-minded people to meet potential partners, the ultimate go-to place for the Nordic & Baltic startup scene, the largest international startup and venture capital gathering in Estonia.

More information and tickets are available at

Japan is implementing the ID-card following Estonia example



Japan is the first large country who is going to implement a digital personal identification card, following Estonia’s example.
The step was announced on 23 October, following a meeting between the Estonian Prime Minister, Taavi Rõivas, and the Japanese Finance Minister, Akira Amari, who visited Estonia to get acquainted with Estonian e-services. The two ministers discussed developing digital societies and closer economic relations between the two countries.

“I am glad Japan has taken a decisive step towards laying a foundation for the digital society of the 21st century by creating a unique personal identification code system,” Rõivas said when acknowledging the successful launch of the Japanese MyNumber project.

“I am delighted that Estonia’s experiences and knowledge in relation to the ID card are useful to others as well. Cooperation in this field will certainly continue in the future,” Rõivas added.

During the meeting, Amari presented Rõivas with his personal MyNumber card. Amari, in turn, became the newest e-resident of Estonia.

Japan will launch the MyNumber National ID system in January 2016. It is Japan’s first national ID system and as declared by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, is expected to be a step towards a “single card society”. Abe himself became Estonian e-resident earlier this year.
The Estonian ID card system, one of the most advanced in the world, is the basis for all of the digital services that are available in the country. Introduced in 2002, the ID card is not just a typical piece of plastic with a picture, but a highly sophisticated digital access card for all of Estonia’s secure e-services. The chip on the card contains embedded files which, using 2048-bit public key encryption, enable it to be used as definitive proof of identity in an electronic environment.
It is used as the national health insurance card, as proof of identification when logging into bank accounts from a home computer, as a pre-paid public transport ticket in Tartu as well as  for digital signatures, online voting, accessing government databases to check medical records, filing taxes, and picking up e-prescriptions.
Cover: Japanese IT-entrepreneur Tsutomu Komori holding his Estonian e-residency card.
The article is first published on Estonian World.

Estonia and Dubai Sign e-Governance Deal

Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas and Mohammad Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs in the Federal Government of the United Arab Emirates, signed a memorandum of cooperation in e-governance and ICT in Dubai today.
“Estonia and Dubai are the absolute top players when it comes to e-solutions,” Rõivas said, and expressed hope that the two countries can learn from each other’s experiences and also find opportunities for cooperation in the development of e-services.

Rõivas also met with Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, Emir of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Rõivas and Al Maktoum stressed the need to strengthen political and economic relations between Estonia and the United Arab Emirates.

“The ICT-related cooperation memorandum creates good opportunities for the exchange of experiences and knowledge at the level of governments, and also simplifies entering the market in Dubai for Estonian companies,” Rõivas said.

The prime minister is accompanied by an Estonian business delegation, which also includes several leading IT companies.

ERR News

UK hands over D5 presidency to Estonia



The Digital 5, or D5, is a network of leading digital governments with the goal of strengthening the digital economy.[1]

The members are bonded by the principle of openness; they are focused on changing government’s relationship with technology by adopting open standards and open-source software as well as making digital government more effective. They intend to bring in digital skills in-house and encourage short-term contracts with small and medium business suppliers. Discussions at their inaugural meetup included connectivity, teaching children to code, and open markets.[2] The group will meet annually to showcase digital accomplishments by governments around the world.

Group of the world’s most advanced digital nations to hold next summit in Tallinn in November. The UK has handed over the presidency of the D5 group of the world’s most digitally advanced nations to Estonia.

The handover took place during a bilateral meeting between the Estonian and UK prime ministers, Taavi Rõivas and David Cameron, which discussed how the two governments can continue to work together to advance digital government.

The D5, which was set up by the UK in 2014, brings together the world’s most digitally advanced nations to explore and share ways of providing better digital government services. The members of the group – the UK, Estonia, South Korea, New Zealand and Israel – all have a track record in digital government, including designing services around users’ needs and sharing open source solutions. Other governments are understood to have expressed an interest in joining the group.

Minister for the Cabinet Office Matt Hancock said: “The D5 is a very special international collaboration. It shows how different nations can work hand in glove to solve shared problems and advance the common good. I’m thrilled to now pass the mantle on to Estonia, which is at the cutting-edge of digital government.”

Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas said: “Estonia is honoured to take over the chairmanship of the D5 and host the upcoming summit in Tallinn in November. We thank and commend the UK for initiating this valuable network for exchange of world-class digital government practices and stewarding its first year.”

The inaugural D5 summit was held in London last year with this year’s summit being held in Tallinn on Novermber 19 and 20.

A new project, UK Estonia TechLink, is expected to be announced at the summit. The project is designed to create and support public and private partnerships between the two countries in technology, innovation and science. It will focus on areas such as financial technology, cyber security, digital government, biotech, smart city development and education.

Source: Government Computing website

Become an e-Resident of Estonia. Online, of course



Can you guess the one thing that connects Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, The Economist’s editor Edward Lucas and president and CEO of Swedbank Group Michael Wolf? No?Well, they and more than 4 200 other foreigners are all e-residents of Estonia.

Last year, in October 2014, Estonia first introduced the idea of e-Residency and the interest was huge – almost immediately over 4 000 followers signed up see where this ‘crazy idea’ would develop. Now, over 18 000 prospective e-residents worldwide have subscribed to the program newsletter.

Today Estonia already has over 4 200 e-residents and currently several hundred are waiting for their e-Residency approval. There have been applicants from 113 countries, almost a half of them from neighbouring countries such as Finland and Russia, but also from much further afield places like Italy, India or the United States.

Although the project managers of e-Residency dared to predict as many as 2 000 e-residents by the end of 2015, it is obvious that the number is going to exceed their wildest dreams, and reach a level more like 10 000.

One of the advantages, and the key reason why applications are booming, is because it is so much easier to apply compared with what it was at the beginning. At the time of writing (May 2015) it is possible to apply for e-Residency online. You can also choose your desired pickup location: one of 38 Estonian embassies and consulates around the world, or an Estonian Police and Border Guard Board service point.

Note that these people are not and will not become physical citizens of Estonia, nor will they become residents of Estonia. They will not necessarily become tax residents either and the e-resident digital ID is not a physical identification or a travel document.

So what are the benefits of e-Residency and why do people apply? Since e-Residency is a platform for advanced government and business services which is open to virtually everyone on the planet, e-residents will have access to one of the world’s most advanced set of e-services, a set that this small Baltic country has been developing since the 1990s.

e-Residency is likely to attract a veritable swarm of business entrepreneurs, freelancers and fans of the digital society in a way that can turn the whole idea of being a small country on its head.

Estonia’s unofficial motto is that states can become bigger than the sum of their physical residents. Plus it would be a good idea to move your business to Estonia if you are interested in low amounts of red tape and high quality of e-services. And we already have some numbers to prove that the scheme is working – new e-residents have created 93 companies in Estonia already, and altogether there are 284 companies in Estonia where e-residents are involved.

e-residents can create companies in minutes as opposed to the days or even months that the process can take in some regions of the world. They can administer their companies and assets in a hassle-free manner from anywhere in the world. They can sign and verify the authenticity of signed documents digitally without travelling. If they need to pay taxes in Estonia, they can take advantage of the world-famous Estonian tax interface which makes declaring taxes so easy that the whole process is over in only about five minutes!

You can already access online payment service providers, and conduct e-banking and remote money transfers by establishing an Estonian bank account. Opening an account currently requires one in-person meeting at the bank, and is at the sole discretion of banking partners.

The current list of basic services is growing rapidly, but the very success of Estonia’s e-Residency program depends on government and private sector cooperation in creating new applications.

Currently several banks and start-ups are working on innovations that will make their services available to e-residents. At the beginning of September there was also an event called ‘Garage48 e-Residency’, where Garage48, Enterprise Estonia, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications and the Information System Authorities teamed up to create an international e-Residency hackathon.

‘Our goal is to draw attention to the fact that all developers and service providers are welcome to develop services to the open digital identity platform. The e-Residency platform could in many aspects be compared with the Apple App Store, as it allows to create many needed services to e-residents. It is very important that the new customer base is recognised by the developers and service providers, who may already offer their services to e-residents,’ says Taavi Kotka, the Government CIO, Deputy Secretary General of ICT at Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications for Estonia.

If this has whetted your appetite to find out more, and to get further instructions on how to apply, you can visit the e-Residency website at and start your application. It will cost you just €50 in state fee and a credit card processing fee of €0.99. We guarantee that this is worth it.

Over the next few pages we will introduce you some notable e-residents of Estonia who are already using the benefits and helping us to revolutionize the world!

e-residents receive a smart ID card which provides:

• Digital identification and authentication
• Digital signing of documents
• Digital verification of document authenticity
• Document encryption

Estonia invites developers to integrate the secure and simple open ID platform with services requiring digital authentication and document signing.

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Quick facts

Capital Tallinn
Language Estonian
Area 45,228 km2
Population 1,340,415
Currency EUR
Time zone UTC+2
Drives on the right
Internet .ee
Calling code 372
EU member 1 May 2004

Toomas Hendrik Ilves
President of Estonia

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