X-Road is the backbone of e-Estonia. Invisible yet crucial, it allows the nation’s various public and private sector e-service information systems to link up and function in harmony.
Estonia’s e-solution environment includes a full range of services for the general public, and since each service has its own information system they all use X-Road. To ensure secure transfers, all outgoing data from X-Road is digitally signed and encrypted, and all incoming data is authenticated and logged.
X-Road connects different information systems that may include a variety of services. It has developed into a tool that can also write to multiple information systems, transmit large data sets and perform searches across several information systems simultaneously. X-Road was designed with growth in mind, so it can be scaled up as new e-services and new platforms come online.
Today, X-Road is also implemented in Finland, Azerbaijan, Iceland and Faroe Islands. Two X-Road ecosystems can be joined together, federated. Federation is a one to one relationship between two ecosystems. Members of the federated ecosystems can publish and consume services with each other as if they were members of the same ecosystem. Federation enables easy and secure cross-border data exchange between X-Road ecosystems. The federation between Estonia and Finland was established in February 2018.
Read more about X-road here.
The e-Land Register is a one-of-a-kind web application that contains information on all ownership relations and limited real rights for properties and land parcels. Currently, there are over 1 million immovables in the Land Register.
Paired with a geographical information system (GIS), the electronic Land Register delivers real-time geographical data through the X-Road, enabling advanced map-based visualizations that power many of the location-based services in Estonia.
A critical tool for the real-estate market, it provides total transparency; listing the registered owner of each property holding, showing the property boundaries and providing other information that potential buyers need to know.
Records information contain:
The system has transformed the way property transactions are carried out in Estonia, eliminating the need to visit public offices and spend hours waiting for a civil servant to search records. This paper-free system has reduced the processing time for land transactions from up to three months to as little as 8 days.
Businesses benefit from the security of having instant access to land titles and the ability to confirm ownership with a few clicks.
Visit the Estonian e-Land Register.
The Population Register is the state’s database for holding basic information about each person living in Estonia. It contains their name, ID code, date of birth, place of residence, and other statistical data such as nationality, native language, education and profession. Each resident can review and correct their data in the register.
The register is connected to other systems via X-Road, and a variety of other state systems depend on its data for their services. For example, when individuals apply for child support, study allowance or concession status for public transport, data is retrieved from the Population Register. The same is true when a person uses i-Voting. The system retrieves the information automatically – no extra documents have to be submitted or online forms filled out.
The state also benefits because statistics are kept up-to-date, and functions such as voter registration and tax filing, which are based on place of residence, can be handled properly.
Find out more about the Population Register on its website.
Estonia’s leading research and development company, Cybernetica, has developed Sharemind®, a data analysis platform to aggregate and analyse private data that may be inaccessible due to regulatory or proprietary reasons. Sharemind can remove regulatory roadblocks using its sophisticated solution. Sharemind helps to protect data assets against threats through its unique cryptographic solution.
With Sharemind’s secure computing technology, data owners share data in an encrypted form, giving no access to the original data to the partners. Sharemind can process encrypted data without having to remove the encryption. This prevents any single party from abusing private data by distributing control and responsibility for any operations.
Sharemind produces encrypted outputs for stakeholders that can be useful in making data-driven decisions. One key component of Sharemind’s process is the computing is done between a distributed network of servers. No analysis can be performed on the data by one independent actor, all servers must agree on the pre-determined queries.
Sharemind was used in a DARPA prototype to determine possible satellite collisions. Sharemind’s solution allows distrusting parties to collaborate on mutually beneficial outcomes by secretly sharing data. The actual trajectories of the satellites were never revealed to the opposing parties, yet the outcomes of collision risk could be shared by the various stakeholders.
In 2015, the Estonian Center for Applied Research used Sharemind to collect governmental tax and education records to run a large data study looking for correlations between students working during their university studies and students failing to graduate on time. The study included over 10 million data points and yielded interesting results for the stakeholders.
The Sharemind solution has been used for pilot projects for those listed previously as well as, the Estonian Ministry of Education, the Estonian Ministry of Finance, and is looking at pilot projects in the EU, US and the UK.
These interoperability service solutions are provided by the following Estonian companies:
Find out more about the services and know-how of the Estonian IT sector
The goal of e-Estonia Briefing Centre is to inspire global policy makers, political leaders, corporate executives, investors and international media with the success story of e-Estonia and build links to leading IT service providers.