A senior Estonian official told me recently that when the newly re-independent country set out to modernize in the early 1990’s after years of occupation, Estonian leaders chose to leap toward the 21st century rather than “upgrading” to aging western technology. Estonian schools received state of the art computers. Internet networks went wireless, fiber optic and broadband. Banking became electronic and Estonian e-government today is a model for the rest of Europe and beyond.
Now the Estonian Ministry of the Interior is testing the world’s most advanced travel security management system. U.S. electronics giant Raytheon is running a year-long pilot program of its Portera Traveler Management System in Tallinn. Tonight, Raytheon representatives will introduce the joint program together with Estonia’s Interior Minister to a group of guests at my home. Portera is not only the most innovative system available today, its use also provides for strict data privacy protections standard in Europe and the United States. Not surprisingly, Estonia will be the first country outside the United States to test and, if found acceptable, institute this system.
Another leap ahead for Estonia and a huge jump in safety for the rapidly expanding number of travellers coming to and passing through this country.