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Chapter 8 introduces governance issues and potential areas in which blockchain technology can help empower citizens. Create a new thread, choose one area from the material in chapter 8 in which blockchain technology can enhance citizen engagement, and describe the current problem and how blockchain technology could resolve or improve the current situation. Write your discussion in a way that is accessible by all readers – regardless of their political beliefs. In other words, focus on blockchain, not politics. Then think of three questions you’d like to ask other students and add these to the end of your thread. The questions should be taken from material you read in Chapter 7, 8, or 9. You’re not trying to test each other, but you are trying to start a discussion.

You must do this following:

1) Create a new thread. As indicated above, choose one area from the material in chapter 8 in which blockchain technology can enhance citizen engagement, and describe the current problem and how blockchain technology could resolve or improve the current situation. Write your discussion in a way that is accessible by all readers – regardless of their political beliefs. In other words, focus on blockchain, not politics. Then think of three questions you’d like to ask other students and add these to the end of your thread. The questions should be taken from material you read in Chapter 7, 8, or 9. You’re not trying to test each other, but you are trying to start a discussion.

2) Select AT LEAST 3 other students' threads and post substantive comments on those threads. Your comments should answer AT LEAST one of the questions posed in the thread and extend the conversation started with that thread. Make sure that you include the question in your comment so I can see what question you’re answering.

CHAPTER 8 REBUILDING GOVERNMENT AND DEMOCRACY The Republic of Estonia is a Baltic state with Latvia to the south and Russia to the east. With a population of 1.3 million, it has slightly fewer people than the city of Ottawa.1 When Estonia regained its independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991, it had an opportunity to completely rethink the role of government and redesign how it would operate, what services it would provide, and how it would achieve its goals through Internet technologies. Today, Estonia is widely regarded as the world leader in digital government, and its president, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, will be the first to say so: “We’re very proud of what we’ve done here,” he told us. “And we hope the rest of the world can learn from our successes.”2 Estonia ranks second of all countries on the social progress index for personal and political rights, tied with Australia and the United Kingdom.3 Estonia’s leaders have designed their e-government strategy around decentralization, interconnectivity, openness, and cybersecurity. Their goal has been to future-proof infrastructure to accommodate the new. All residents can access information and services online, use their digital identity to conduct business, and update or correct their government records. While much of Estonia’s work predates the blockchain, the country introduced a keyless signature infrastructure that integrates beautifully with blockchain technology. Central to the model of e-Estonia is a digital identity. As of 2012, 90 percent of Estonians had an electronic ID card to access government services and travel within the European Union.4 The chip embedded in the card holds basic information about the cardholder as well as two certificates—one to authenticate identity and one to provide a digital signature—and a personal identification number (PIN) of their choice. Estonians use these to vote, review, and edit their automated tax forms online, apply for social security benefits, and access banking services and public transportation. No need for bank cards or Metrocards. Alternatively, Estonians can do the same with mobile-ID on their mobile phones. In 2013, Estonians submitted over 95 percent of taxes electronically and conducted 98 percent of banking transactions online. Parents and students use Estonia’s e-School to track assignments, curriculum, and grades, and to collaborate with teachers. Estonia aggregates in real time diverse health information from various sources into a single record for each citizen, and so these records don’t reside on a single database. Each Estonian has exclusive access to his own record and can control which doctors or family members have access to these data online.5 Since 2005, citizens have used i-voting for their national elections. Using their ID card or mobile-ID, Estonians can log in and vote from anywhere in the world. In the 2011 parliamentary election, citizens cast almost 25 percent of ballots online, up from 5.5 percent in the previous parliamentary election. The people obviously like and trust the system: the number went up again for the 2014 European Parliament elections in which a third of voters participated over the Internet from ninety-eight different countries. The Estonian cabinet uses a paperless process and makes all draft legislation accessible online. The average length of weekly cabinet meetings has gone from around five hours to under ninety minutes.6 Estonia has an electronic land registry that has transformed the real estate market, reducing land transfers from three months to a little over a week.7 In the last few years, Estonia has launched its e-Residency program, where anyone in the world can apply for a “transnational digital identity” and authentication to access secure services, encrypt, verify, and sign documents digitally. An entrepreneur anywhere in the world can register his or her company online in fewer than twenty minutes and administer the company online. These capabilities contribute to Estonia’s image as a digital country.8 None of this would work or be acceptable without solid cybersecurity. As Mike Gault, CEO of Guardtime, noted, “Integrity is the number-one problem in cyberspace and this is what Estonia recognized ten years ago. They built this technology so that everything on government networks could be verified without having to trust humans . . . it is impossible for the government to lie to its citizens.”9 Estonia’s cybersecurity derives from its keyless signature infrastructure (KSI), which verifies any electronic activity mathematically on the blockchain without system administrators, cryptographic keys, or government staff.

Reference

Tapscott, Don. Blockchain Revolution (p. 199). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.