Tds2021 Group Photo

Trusted Connectivity, infrastructure and cybersecurity investments, and Digital Testbed Framework as key highlights of the Tallinn Digital Summit.

The focus of this year’s Summit was the concept of Trusted Connectivity, highlighting the nexus between cross-border infrastructure, geopolitics, and digital technologies

The fourth iteration of the Tallinn Digital Summit (TDS), an annual event hosted by the Prime Minister of Estonia, took place today in Tallinn. The focus of this year’s Summit was the framework of Trusted Connectivity, highlighting the nexus between cross-border infrastructure, geopolitics, and digital technologies. Also on the agenda were cybersecurity investments and more effective digital government services.

The Summit brought together political leaders, policy innovators, and prominent entrepreneurs to discuss the digital transformation. The opening speech was held by the Estonian Prime Minister and keynote addresses were given by Charles Michel, President of the European Council, Gina Raimondo, US Secretary of Commerce, Mathias Cormann, Secretary-General of the OECD, and Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice President of the European Commission. The Prime Ministers of Australia, Poland, and the President of Estonia also took part in the related discussions.

In her opening speech, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas called on democratic states to establish partnerships with each other, drawing on the principles of trusted connectivity, and to promote the harmonisation of international data transfer and data flow policies. “These partnerships should be employed to improve the existing ones and establish new mechanisms for financing cross-border infrastructure projects that prioritise digital and cybersecurity components,” said Kallas.

The Digital Summit presented the first opportunity for a high-level, multi-stakeholder discussion of recent infrastructure initiatives, among them the G7’s Build Back Better World and the OECD’s Blue Dot Network.

Participants at the Digital Summit had a chance to discuss how trust, transparency, and the free movement of data could make cross-border infrastructure investments more attractive to the private sector. The private sector is the financial engine of the democratic world but has hitherto been underutilized in the area of infrastructure. Throughout the Summit, government leaders, alongside representatives from international organizations and from the private sector, reiterated the importance of public-private partnerships in facing the challenges of the 21st century, including geopolitical tensions, sustainable economic growth, and cyber threats.

In the context of cybersecurity it was underlined that digital societies require protection. One theme at the Summit were various approaches to the division of responsibility for cybersecurity between the public and private sphere. Mr. Andres Sutt, the Estonian Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology, called on governments and companies to contemplate a minimum threshold for cybersecurity spending. “Our aim should be no less than to agree on a global framework on cybersecurity, just like NATO has the 2% target of GDP to be spent on defense. We have to have a comparable target, methodology, and benchmark for cybersecurity,” Minister Sutt stated. There was general agreement that this would be a feasible and significant step toward mitigating cyber threats, especially owing to our reliance on digital technologies.

In light of the Digital Summit, the Estonian government today announced that it is globally launching its Digital Testbed Framework, inviting anyone from around the world to come and build or try out their ground-breaking new ideas, prototypes, products, or wholly new digital services in a world-leading digital government setting.

Photos of the Summit can be found at our Flickr account.

Sessions and plenaries are available here.