The nation of Estonia has made worldwide history by giving out the first-ever e-residency card to the Senior Editor of The Economist, Edward Lucas. The card is equipped with a microchip that will electronically identify Lucas anywhere in the world that has electronic authentication systems.
Although the e-residency doesn’t give him Estonian citizenship or legal residency, nor is it a valid picture ID or travel document, it does allow Lucas to purchase tickets to ride trains in the EU or send encrypted, authenticated emails to anyone else that has e-residency. The card is the first that a nation has created that transcends borders and is a “supranational” digital ID to carry out tasks digitally that are traditionally paper-based, such as getting a prescription at an Estonian pharmacy or registering a company in Estonia from anywhere or carrying out e-transactions from an Estonian bank account anywhere. To get the card, one must first show up in person to the proper authorities in Estonia to submit to a background check, give them biometric information such as fingerprints and facial images, and pay a designated fee.
An official with the Estonian government, Siim Sikkut, states that the card was not developed to be revolutionary for citizenship concerns, but was purposed to make international business more seamless by taking advantage of the efficiency offered by a digital or Internet ID. Sikkut also added, “However, I also think that citizenship is not the most defining feature of us anymore—rather a community feeling is…” And I have a feeling he is hinting at the “world community”–a community that will one day embrace global governance.
Source: Uri Friedman, The World Now Has Its First E-Resident, TheAtlantic.com, December 01, 2014.
Harry A. Gaylord