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President Ilves: both legislators and those monitoring the implementation of laws must understand information technology


Today, the development of laws that fulfil the requirements of today's digital society has become one of the most important issues for maintaining security and controlling cyber crime, according to the President, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, who today opened the Networked Security international conference, which is being organised by the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences and brings together experts from approximately 40 countries.

"The task of the police is to uphold the law but the law must first be able to cope with threats arising from the digital society," said the Estonian Head of State.

According to the President, the absence of dialogue between technicians and humanitarians at both domestic and international level in general is one of the largest problems in ensuring efficient co-operation. The problem becomes more pronounced in a digital society, as technology specialists come up with an increasing number of new solutions, such as eavesdropping on individuals suspected in crimes or reading their e-mail correspondence. However, they neglect the fundamental values of our liberal democracy, such as the protection of privacy and individual rights and freedoms. On the other hand, legislators lack an understanding of modern technology and the opportunities that it offers; as a consequence, it is impossible to draft laws that adequately take technical threats into consideration.

"Therefore, it is important for future lawyers, legislators and also those who uphold the law to have the required level of technical competence," told President Ilves.

Cyber security has a meaning that is more general than just the restricted aspect of privacy. The readiness to protect data from modification is also highly important. One of the most notorious viruses today, Stuxnet, relied specifically on feeding falsified data into systems, the Head of State recalled, adding: "Falsified data in our medical records database can kill, whereas falsified data fed into technical systems may result in chaos."

President Ilves also spoke about the importance of secure identity and introduced the specifics of the Estonian state-level data exchange system to the foreign visitors present, in which the work done by law and order organs is under the control of the system – a trace will be left of every data review and processing event, which makes abuse identifiable and the culprit detectable.

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