Exploring Estonian e-government before, during, and beyond COVID-19
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The outbreak of COVID-19 saw lockdowns imposed across the world, and traditionally in-person tasks and services shifted online. While this posed immense challenges in some governmental and institutional settings, in Estonia rigorous digital advancements dating back to the 1990s have made this learning curve markedly less steep, as many digital service provisions were widely available prior to the pandemic. This paper explores Estonia’s e-government solutions pre-dating, during, and beyond the pandemic. It will examine mechanisms – e-ID, X-Road, the information authority, state portal, and e-learning – that existed prior to the pandemic, and others – new e-services, fully online learning, and contact tracing applications – that have emerged in direct response to the pandemic. Finally, this paper will examine how elements of Estonian e-government can, and have been, adopted in international settings, considering how cybersecurity, regulation, and accessibility are closely intertwined with such dialogues surrounding e-government.
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