Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (Aug 2020)

Dark estonia
Photo by Kevin Lehtla on Unsplash

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed watching the twitter hack fall out and the cult like increase in conspiracies theories.

To quote Buckminster Fuller “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

You are seeing aspects of this happening with the new Estonian digital nomad visa and a steady drive of transparency questions levelled at Facebook.


Protocols, Not Platforms

Ian thinks: This paper really sets out the problems of the current mainstream internet. Platform building opposed to open protocols which everybody can use. Its well thought out and substantial in its arguments.

The growing changes in robot technology, iot and 3D printing

Ian thinks: I am impressed with the bio-mimicry in some of the robots. Its certainly the way to go, learning from nature. If only we could save it too.

Estonia launches a new type of visa for digital nomads

Ian thinks: Estonia was the first country with e-residency and they have flatten the world one more time with a new type of visa, allowing people to work for a remote company for up to 90 days.

If I earn a bitcoin everytime some asked me about the darkweb…

Ian thinks: Although the speaker doesn’t do himself any favours with a blurred out face, he crushes a lot of the typical questions I have been asked about the darkweb

Insight into the dark world of shadow brokers

Ian thinks: Its fascinating to hear about the unsolved puzzle of shadow brokers who sold NSA surveillance tools on the open market. Another reason why government encryption back-doors are such a bad idea.

What are the applications using blockchain technology right now?

Ian thinks: There is a lot of scepticism about crypto technology but I found this video from Crypto startup school, useful looking at the direction and focus of the actual applications which currently exist. The questions are pretty intruding too.

An atlas of surveillance

Ian thinks: Ok this is mainly American but its quite a unique database of different types of surveillance, how they are used and for what purpose. Good work by the EFF.

Emerging tech overview with Node

Ian thinks: Starting with drone delivery and ending with human assisted tech. Node is a great place for summaries on emerging open tech advancements.

Mozilla wants your advice on how to make the internet healther

Ian thinks: If you had only one question for Mozilla, what would it be? Well here is your chance to think and submit that one question.


Find the archive here

Estonia to implement a digital nomad Visa

My Estonian e-residency ID

How on earth did i miss this!?

The Estonian parliament on 3 June adopted amendments to the current laws to create a digital nomad visa that would allow people to come to Estonia as a tourist and at the same time continue working for a foreign employer or as a freelancer independent of location.

This is the step I’ve been dreaming about… Digital ID becomes useful for physical ID

Would I work in another country while doing my current job? You darn right I would. The last few months have made it super clear that I could work completely remotely quite well. A tourist visa is about 90 days within a 6 month period, I just spent 3 months mainly in my flat!

This is very doable and heck if I can also wonder across into other parts of Europe?! Now that would be incredible..!

 

I’m a digital nomad facing Brexit?

https://www.flickr.com/photos/cubicgarden/33602308434/

Interesting blog from the Estonia E-residents team.

Its been 3 years since the scheme launched and nearly 30,000 people from 139 countries signed up. I only signed up earlier this year but still love the idea and keeping an eye on what else I can do with a EU state backed identity.

Estonia launched it’s e-Residency programme three years ago tomorrow so that anyone on Earth could apply for a secure government-backed digital identity and gain access to our e-services.

Understandably, no one was entirely sure back then who would actually sign up and why. Many of the first e-residents were simply excited to join our borderless digital nation and had no plans to use their digital ID cards.

What interests me is the classification of the people who signed up.

  • Digital nomads
  • Entrepreneurs who want EU access
  • Entrepreneurs within the EU
  • Entrepreneurs facing Brexit
  • Startup entrepreneurs
  • Freelancers from emerging markets
  • Blockchain entrepreneurs

I’m more a Digital nomad facing Brexit I guess.

Due to rapid advances in digital technology and more flexible working cultures, a rapidly increasing number of people are choosing to live as ‘digital nomads’ because they can work anywhere there’s an internet connection.

There’s been a sharp rise in applications from the UK since the country voted to leave the European Union. Many British entrepreneurs discover e-Residency while searching for a way to ‘stay in the EU’, but soon discover that the benefits of e-Residency are bigger than Brexit as it can often enable them to more easily conduct business globally.

Teretulemast klubisse: Estonia e-Residency

My Estonian e-residency ID
Its really mine, no matter what my thumb is hiding

Finally while in London, I got to pick up my e-residency pack.

It was a bit of rush to get to the Embassy of Estonia as they are are only open certain times of the day. But once I got there, answered a few questions with my passport, gave up a few fingerprints and waited a bit; I was presented with my pack which included the digital identity card, USB reader, instructions and secure pin and puk numbers.

USB reader for Digital ID card

It was pretty painless and the lady behind the glass was pleasant enough on a hot sticky day.

Of course because I’m using Ubuntu, it was never going to be as straight forward as plugging it in. In the FAQ’s theres instructions to get it working on Ubuntu.

digital id card in USB reader
Of course I hid the important info, but thats the card in the USB on my Dell XPS 13.

As it was late, I decided to do it tomorrow night, as I was tired even with the espresso I had late night.

Many people have asked what I’ll do with it now I got it?

Digital signing is certainly one of my things I’ll be doing more of. I have other plans to use it for authentication, as its backed by the state of Estonia. I’m still unsure what .ee domain I should buy too. Will I setup a bank account? We shall see… Its a very interesting time to have loose ties to the EU.

Baby steps forward for e-Residents

It was Chris Hernon who first pointed me at the news I knew would come sooner or later.

Its becoming one step easier to setup a business in Estonia under the e-residency programme. A programme I signed up for and got the go ahead for just recently.

One of the biggest issues was having a bank account in another country which you are not formally a part of. I understand the reasons but as the e-residency is a real digital identity and banking (Fintech) goes through changes its self; it makes sense that the two trends will create something new and exciting

Business banking is radically transforming for almost everyone on Earth. Estonia’s e-Residency programme has now partnered with the Finnish fintech company Holvi to provide borderless business banking to the borderless digital nation. This means a complete EU company with complete EU business banking (& a payment card) can be established entirely online.

Although I’m not planning to setup a business in Estonia anytime soon, this is exciting news and I look forward to hearing what comes next.

I almost feel like a quote from the Hacker manifesto is almost apt here.

My Estonian e-residency has arrived

estonian e-residency conformation

A while ago I was in Tallinn and applied for the Estonian e-Residency as a result of what I heard and after deciding their was enough upsides to the residency.

Well Wednesday I got a email from the Estonian Embassy in London…

This is to confirm your digital identity card has arrived to the Estonian Embassy in London and is ready to be collected.

Excellent news… I hope to be picking it up sometime in June.

Thinking about Estonian’s e-Residency

Tallinn, Estonia

I was in Tallinn, Estonia most of this week for MozRetreat. Tallinn was a wonderful place and surprised me no end.

On the first full day we had a Alex Wellman who filled us all in on Estonian’s e-Residency program (one which I wrote about a while ago). I was certainly interested and it was great to get the full details and answers to my personal questions.

Generally its mainly setup for businesses and freelancers wanting to work/trade within the EU. For myself theres few reasons to take part in the program but its highly likely after considering everything, I may go ahead and do it, mainly for these reasons.

Estonia’s E-Residency program

  • Being slightly tied to the EU as the UK leaves
  • A verified digital identy useable to sign legal documents
  • Beta testing a truly digital redidency/citizenship system (exciting!)
  • Not having to give up my british citizenship
  • Freelancing support within the EU if my career takes a turn
  • There maybe a chance to setup a bank account in the EU in the near future

The Alex Wellman made some good points but ultimately its a bit of a leap into the unknown with the chance of more advantages coming in years to come.

Being in the UK, I can do almost everything online and then do the interview and pick up my new digital identity in the Estonian Embassy in London.

Its seems all worth while for 100 euros, form filling and interviews.

Updated… I’ve applied

estonian e-residency conformation

I just hope the photos I sumbmitted were good enough for the process.

Mozfest retreat in Tallinn?

Tallinn Mozretreat

Mozfest the festival I have been in involved with for the last 6 years; is a collaborative event and of course there is some overhead to the collaboration. But Mozilla have ways to work through the usual issues with collaboration; be it collaborative tools first or subverting github to manage the open calls. Its quite amazing…

But sometimes you need to bring people together across the many different timezones we inhabit. 2 years ago it was Scotland, last year it was Berlin and this year its Tallinn.

Of course I was wondering like many others. I heard some great things about the place but it wasn’t hot on my list of places to go. But some more research has turned up some great stuff including the e-resident which I first heard about from Alex DS.

Ahead of Brexit, statistics reveal that almost 1,000 Brits have now applied to be e-residents of Estonia. Applications from the UK are being made twice as frequently as before the referendum, following an initial surge from three to 51 applications per week. More than half of all applications from the UK, 534, have arrived since the vote, while 231 arrived in the same period beforehand. Based on current trends, it is likely the 1,000th British application for e-residency will arrive this week, as Article 50 is due to be triggered.

Elsewhere, a website has been set up by the e-residency programme for British entrepreneurs called howtostayin.eu which explains how startups, established businesses and freelancers can use Estonian e-residency to continue their operations in the EU without leaving the UK.

I wish I had done it earlier, as I’ll be doing this for sure now

Interestingly I also found the p0rnhub insights for estonia while searching, which was fancinating but slightly , so you were warned! I was going to send it around to some of the Mozfest orginaisers but couldn’t find a way to explain why it was interesting or relavent.