Case Luxembourg: From Scattered Public Administration to Data Embassies in Two Years

Bratislava, November 16 – In 2015 Luxembourg underwent a digital revolution. This small country was inspired by Estonian eGovernment and introduced Estonian model into its operations. Pivotal to this change was governmental resolution of three basic principles: once is enough, „digital first“ and transparency. These three principles were complemented by resolution on single entry point for public administration electronic services. Establishment of one portal prevented establishment of other portals that would be difficult to integrate.

Use of Estonian model accelerated the digitization and as of November 1, 2017 there are almost 175 000 services available to citizens. Data found in number of different registries are the prerequisite of success. Luxembourg switched into fully paperless administration and therefore protection and security of these data became alpha and omega; in case of loss there is no paper backup. Possible solution is collaboration of various countries on central level in so-called data embassies.

Gilles Feith came to ITAPA 2017: Technology & HumanITy to present data embassy. A man who is one of top European experts on digital public administration. He is head of Luxembourg IT Headquarters, in other words he is the author of modernization and digitization of all processes in the country.

„It is a data center protected by internationally agreed privileges and immunity. It provides backup system for governmental data; they can be backed up and stored outside of the country in case there is serious incident and threat of damage or loss the original data,“ clarified Feith at ITAPA adding that Estonia is the initiator of the process. Fear of possible invasion to its territory made Estonia to look for ways how to safeguard operations of public services and administration outside of its territory. They started cooperation with other countries and agreed upon a system of mutual backup and data protection, so called data embassies.

Nowadays, Luxembourg has more than 20 data centers, eight of them have TIER IV security. Many of them even offer their services to NATO. They also have strong infrastructure and are interconnected with other European centers, e.g. London. They seized the opportunity and today they are offering data embassy services not only to Estonia, but also to European Union and are negotiating with other countries. Luxembourg is an example that it is possible to switch from scattered and partially digitized public administration to fully digital administration that is fully operational even outside its own borders in just three years.

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