The overarching question imparting urgency to this exploration is: Can U.S.-Russian contention in cyberspace cause the two nuclear superpowers to stumble into war? In considering this question we were constantly reminded of recent comments by a prominent U.S. arms control expert: At least as dangerous as the risk of an actual cyberattack, he observed, is cyber operations’ “blurring of the line between peace and war.” Or, as Nye wrote, “in the cyber realm, the difference between a weapon and a non-weapon may come down to a single line of code, or simply the intent of a computer program’s user.”
Governments around the world are searching for new ways to cope with multiple evolving challenges. The international security order is changing, greatly impacted by events in Ukraine and Syria but also the rise of Daesh and terrorism. Economies around the globe are struggling with sluggish growth and an uneven recovery following the 2008 financial crisis. At the same time, a digital society is emerging and public expectations related to its transparency in the public sector are growing.
Estonia is one of the great success stories among the nations that reclaimed independence after the Cold War. Estonia has built a vibrant democracy and become a model for how citizens should interact with their government in the 21st century. Estonians use their smart phones to get just about anything done online – from children’s grades to health records to interned based voting. Estonia has become one of the most wired countries on Earth, a global leader in e-government and high tech start-ups. After all, Skype was invented in Estonia. Estonia has a population of 1.3 million people but the vision is to increase it by 10 million providing transnational digital identity through e-recidency.
Being 36, Taavi Rõivas is the youngest Prime Minister in the European Union since spring 2014 when he stepped into office. He is tech savvy; based on his and Estonia's firsthand experience he will offer new ideas and insights how to govern a digital society, also from a smartphone, if necessary.