Sunday

25th Aug 2019

Focus

Estonia picks Luxembourg for 'ultimate backup'

  • Estonia will build servers in Luxembourg as an 'ultimate backup' (Photo: European Union)

Estonia chose Luxembourg as the country to store a comprehensive backup of government data because it had the best infrastructure, Estonian prime minister Juri Ratas said on Friday (30 June).

There were “some countries on the table”, Ratas told EUobserver at a press conference in Tallinn, without naming names.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Estonia calls the out-of-border backup, which will include copies of its citizens' health data, population data, and business registries, a data embassy.

“It is the first data embassy in the world,” said Ratas, who spoke to journalists a day before the Baltic country takes over the six-month lasting EU presidency.

Earlier this month, he had travelled to Luxembourg to sign an agreement on the data embassy with prime minister Xavier Bettel.

The data embassy will comprise a set of servers that host copies of data the Estonian government has collected.

A lot of interactions Estonians have with the state take place digitally, said Siim Sikkut, chief information officer at the Estonian government.

“If we lose digital records, we are done as a country. We don't keep paper backups,” he told a group of journalists earlier on Friday.

Sikkut, who advises the Estonian government on ICT policies, said the plan for the data embassy was made with idea that “ultimately things in Estonia can fail”.

“Servers can burn down, we can have a natural disaster,” he said, also mentioning a cyber attack as a possibility.

“The whole point is to be ready for anything that can happen.”

The Estonian government decided that it should keep an “ultimate backup” outside of the country's borders.

Because the government wanted to keep “full control”, it was not possible to simply upload all data to a commercial host.

“Private clouds, like the Google's, Amazon's, you name them, is not an option for us. There we won't have control,” said Sikkut.

“But hey, physical embassies are our territory abroad.”

The data embassy would also allow Estonia's government to continue to function when it is not able to do so from its home territory.

Sikkut brought to mind that during the Soviet occupation, there was an Estonian government in exile.

The Luxembourg backup would allow Estonia to work as a “virtual exile government”.

Sikkut added that the data embassy should be up and running by the end of the year.

Estonia tests water for own virtual currency

Following the success of cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, some in the Baltic nation propose introducing their own version for their e-residents. But what about the euro?

News in Brief

  1. Ocean Viking to disembark in Malta after ordeal
  2. Germany joins France in world outcry on Brazil fires
  3. British people lose faith in Brexit deal
  4. Brexit hardliners want further changes to EU deal
  5. German manufacturers confirm fear of recession
  6. Belgian socialists and liberals scrap over EU post
  7. Fall in EU migration leading to UK skills shortages
  8. Switzerland makes post-Brexit flight preparations

Are EU data watchdogs staffed for GDPR?

The success of the new general data protection regulation (GDPR) will depend on whether data protection authorities enforce the new rules - which, in turn, will be at least partly determined by how many people they employ.

Eight countries to miss EU data protection deadline

The EU starts enforcing its general data protection regulation on 25 May - but Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania and Slovenia won't be ready. The delay will cause legal uncertainty.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. Spain heading for yet another general election
  2. EU to discuss Brazil beef ban over Amazon fires
  3. 'Our house is burning,' Macron says on Amazon fires
  4. What happens when trafficking survivors get home
  5. EU states and Russia clash on truth of WW2 pact
  6. EU considers new rules on facial recognition
  7. EU to pledge Africa security funds at G7 summit
  8. Letter from the EESC on per diem article

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us