Exclusive Interview with Estonian President Ilves on Cyber Security

While the presidents of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia are in Washington, DC to meet with President Obama to discuss economic cooperation and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, Estonian President Hendrik Ilves sat down with Atlantic Council Executive Vice President Damon Wilson for an exclusive interview on Estonia’s role in cyber security and its importance in the global context.

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Since launching an initiative in 1996 to invest in the development and expansion of computer and network infrastructure in Estonia, the Baltic nation has become a global leader in internet use and systems integration. The 2008 opening of a NATO Cyber Center of Excellence in Tallinn has helped further research and training to better prepare the Alliance and partners for cyber threats. President Ilves touches on why Estonia has become a leading proponent for cyber security.

On US-Estonian cooperation, President Ilves states that “our discussions, our contacts, are at a level that I previously would never have predicted.”

When asked about the most important cyber issues for countries, President Ilves emphasizes the need for societies and groups to look beyond the traditional views of security and identify vulnerabilities before they are exposed. With our continued reliance on technology in nearly every aspect of society, Ilves warns “we have not taken the appropriate steps to defend and to maintain securely the new fundamental bases and foundations of our lives in modern society.”