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e-State: How did Estonia Take the Lead in the Provision of e-Services


Georgiy Dzhaniashvili, lawyer

Source: European pravda

At the beginning of the year Estonia has thoroughly discussed whether it is acceptable to register marriage online. And this is not a joke – something that seems impossible is already being implemented or is planned to be implemented by this Baltic country.

However, with regard to marriage a conservative approach prevailed: those wishing to change their marital status still need to visit the governmental institution and express their will in person. Furthermore, the property can not actually be transferred online. For example, unfortunately, you can not buy a house via the Internet.

However, the good old e-services do not stand in the same place, which probably means that in a while the aforementioned services will be available online.
The questions like “why don’t we fill in all these papers directly in the smartphone and then receive the needed answer online?” have not been asked for a while in Estonia. Why in 2018, in the era of contactless payments, access to phones and applications with fingerprint and telephone video chats, you can not solve all of your formal issues with the governmental authorities by using the same smartphone with your finger on screen?

Everything the state is usually engaged with — from legislative activities to taxes — has been moved to one platform uniting the nation.

Now anyone can vote or pay a fine for parking violation without leaving one’s home. The system users are required to enter their data once, and they may forget about filling out papers with a doctor or at the bank in the future. The specialist concerned simply opens the necessary information, tied to the individual ID-card with the chip and assembled on one platform. It is necessary to insert the ID card into a special device with a help of the USB port, and then enter one of the passwords attached to it (the other one is used for digital signature).

The usage of digital solutions erases barriers, since no service is tied to a specific location. Therefore, in 2014 the government launched a digital residency program (hereinafter – the e-resident), which allows the foreigners to use such services as, for example, the services of the republic’s banking system, as if they reside in Estonia. According to official data, the majority of e-residents who established companies in Estonia are the citizens of Ukraine.

Now we will consider the basic services that are daily used in Estonia.

Commercial Register
The Commercial Register is one of the governmental databases earning a high level of trust among the Estonian people.
This central database contains the digital data of the Commercial Register, the Register of Non-Commercial Organizations and Funds and the Register of Commercial Guarantees. In the register you can review the public data about the company (contact details, business activities, company representatives, charter, annual accounting reports, etc.). This register facilitates business operations with new partners, giving an opportunity to find the initial information about them.

Entrepreneur’s Portal
The entrepreneur’s portal provides an opportunity to register a limited liability company, an unlimited and limited partnership, or a non-profit association and start the entrepreneurial activity.
The business association may be registered electronically on the entrepreneur’s portal only in case all persons associated with the institution thereof (members of the management board, founders, council members and others) can sign the first record statement and the statutory documents with their electronic signatures.
This portal may be used by the residents of Estonia, who have an ID-card. The owners of Latvian, Belgian and Finnish ID-cards may also use it.

Patient’s Portal
Its operation is based on the national health information system, which collects data related to the health care in Estonia. The portal provides the possibility to get acquainted with the information about the patient’s health available in the information system, to provide additional information and to change the patient’s personal data. If you wish, you may close your personal information.
It is only the attending doctor who can see the patient’s data.

Besides, by using the portal the patients may express their will as related to medical services. For example: to appoint persons authorized to buy the prescribed medicinal product, to give permission for blood transfusion or to refuse it, to express a desire to donate organs or tissues for transplantation after death, to transfer the corpse for further educational work and scientific study. On the patient’s portal one may also appoint representatives with different rights. The access to the patient’s portal is given to both private and public medical institutions.

Digital Prescription
Digital prescription is an electronic prescription for a medicinal product or a medical device made up by the doctor in the computer. The digital prescription is not printed out, but is directly sent from the doctor’s computer to the prescription center via the Internet.

Going to the pharmacy to buy the medicine, one needs to have his/her identity document with a photo and a personal code, for example, an ID-card, driver’s license or passport.

Literally translated as the “e-school”. eKool is a school management system, uniting home, school and self-government authorities.
eKool helps the student to organize the learning process (to see grades, homework, lesson schedules, lesson materials, communicate with the teacher, etc.); parents can be better informed about how their children are doing; and the local government authorities get a good overview of how schools operate in their administrative territory.

The I-Voting (voting online) is one of the additional voting opportunities. In this context I-Voting means the voting via the Internet, rather than using a special voting device. For example, during the elections to the European Parliament in 2014, more than 103 000 votes were given through I-Voting, and this is 31% of all voters.

The aforementioned services are not the only ones in the administration of processes within the country. The Estonian digitalization of services affects almost all spheres within the state, and the remaining exceptions are more likely to result from the conservative thinking. In any case, the likelihood that these services will go online in Estonia is much higher than anywhere else.

© 2019 Ilyashev & Partners / Mobile version