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Tiger Leap, part three
Alex Steffen, 10 May 04

"A baby tiger lying newborn on the ground has within it an ox-eating spirit."
--Gary Snyder

Man, those Estonians have taken to this whole digital society thing: not only have they encoded Net access for all in their constitution and started frantically unwiring their country, they've made their government one of the most wired an transparent in the world:

"Ministers peruse draft bills and regulations, make comments and suggestions, and vote entirely online at computer terminals. The system, coupled with the use of digital signatures, eliminates the need to send mountains of papers between ministries for consultation. It gives ministers a possibility to participate in the session from any location. The system, created by Estonian IT companies, saves approximately three million Estonian kroons (192 000 EUR) per year in paper and copying costs. ...

"In the summer of 2001, the Government created a web page Täna Otsustan Mina ("I Decide Today"). Ministries upload all their draft bills and amendments there, allowing people to review, comment on and make proposals on the legislative process as well as propose amendments to existing legislation. Ideas that gain substantial support will be reviewed by competent bodies. Approximately 5% of all ideas are used as amendments to bills."

But wait, there's more! Estonians are throwing what may well be the coolest conference of the year, ISEA2004, an exploration of wireless, wearable and networked media that takes place on a ferry sailing from Helsinki to Stockholm and the Ålands and finally Tallinn, with miniconferences in each city and panels and parties on-board. Sign me up!
(Thanks, Vika!)

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