Estonia has no paper laws any more

Feb 17, 2007

I continue to be amused by the antagonists of e-voting who claim that we are doomed without paper trails. So here's some more material to drive you nuts.

For years, Estonia has had this "Riigi Teataja", or "state gazette" thing where all the laws are published. Originally (from the 1920s onwards and in 1990s) it was a paper publication, but since 1996, it has also had a parallel format, where electronic and paper records had equal force.

Now there's nothing new here, this has been the case for years (and really convenient if you want to look up some law). What's cool is that they have now added an English intro about the whole thing (not exactly sure when was that published -- and other languages are available from the front page), so you can study it in more detail. And it says this:

As of January 1, 2007, the eRT (the electronic version of the gazette) will become the primary official publication, with only five copies printed on paper.

Let's reflect on this for a moment. Forget the elections -- they only happen once every four years and mostly there are the same people getting elected anyway. But now you have a whole country of more than a million people run around the clock with only five paper copies of the laws... :o

So, with all due respect to security fundamentalists, according to some of them we should be really doomed by now, since online records can be faked and forged and generally you can't trust this Internet thing and insecure computing environment.

Yet the country still keeps going just fine. :P