When we leave the EU in the new year, its clear almost all the American corps will shift UK data from their European servers to American ones. Not only because of cost but GDPR is a pain for them (boohoo).
Facebook are not the only ones, (Google too) but I certainly am considering removing a lot of data from Facebook before this happens. I already moved a lot out of google over the year. But I’m also considering maybe its time to get that Estonian PO Box address?
I have been weighing up options and it seems all possible.
First I spotted there is a PO Box service for Estonia e-residents. It does seem to mean setting up a business however? Something I’ve been thinking about for a good 10+ years. Its currently 10 euros a month
Spotted someone on Reddit who was just looking to set up a PO Box a couple years ago.
17. How long can a DNV-holder stay in other countries in the Schengen Zone during their visa period?
This depends on whether you have a short-stay or a long-stay visa.
For example, during the validity of an Estonian long-stay visa, the holder can stay in other countries in the Schengen area for 90 days within 180 consecutive days.
I looked at the Schengen area and found the above mapping. I’m sure its obvious for most but I hadn’t actually looked at what countries were included and not. I can imagine a base out of Tallinn, Estonia and a month or two out of the Netherlands?
The other restrictions look good to me although I’m also interested in the short 90 day Nomad visa too.
Because of this, I have been looking much more deeply into the idea of actually going back to Tallinn for 6 months when/if the current pandemic is more under real control. I have been pretty clear about trying to live in Europe at least for a short while. Originally the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden were hot my list but I’d like to just give it a try. The digital nomad visa looks perfect for this.
I like to think of myself as a digital nomad, so maybe its time to test the logic? I know one thing for sure… Its been over 6 months since I was last in work. Besides my Ubuntu SSD issue (long story, but its something I can’t fix myself without wiping out the existing work settings) everything workwise has been fine.
Between a lot of cloud applications like Zoom, Slack, Google drive, Dropbox, etc. Its very clear I could do this from almost anywhere with a good internet connection. Of course with my personal cloud applications running on my server such as Plex, a number of docker apps, etc. I was recently checking out cryptpad.
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.
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.
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.
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..!
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.
Entrepreneurs who want EU access
Entrepreneurs within the EU
Entrepreneurs facing Brexit
Freelancers from emerging markets
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.
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.
It was pretty painless and the lady behind the glass was pleasant enough on a hot sticky day.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I just hope the photos I sumbmitted were good enough for the process.
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.
Interestingly I also found the p0rnhub insights for estonia while searching, which was fancinating but slightly #nsfw, 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.