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Estonia Sharing Its Finnish-Made E-Government Solution With Finland

timothy posted about 4 months ago | from the circle-arctic-circle dept.

Government 83

paavo512 writes "For the last decade or so, Estonia has developed a national electronic data exchange layer called X-Road. Is is based on national electronic ID cards and allows creation of common electronic services like founding a company, declaring taxes or e-voting. Every day, over 800,000 enquiries are made via X-Road (the population of Estonia is 1.3M). According to the PM of Estonia, the solution is saving 2% of national GDP annually. The Estonian ID card technology was originally imported from Finland; however, it appears Finns have for 10 years failed to come up with any significant e-services making use of them. So it is now agreed that Estonian X-Road solution will be expanding to Finland as well."

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83 comments

I was gonna frist post (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45671435)

but then i didn't know what to say.

Re:I was gonna frist post (4, Funny)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 4 months ago | (#45671867)

but then i didn't know what to say.

Well, then, I'll help you.

PLEASE US Feds and State leaders, pass by this idea, don't dwell on it and for God's sake, don't try to implement it.

We can't even get a fucking website working...please don't fuck with a National ID...we'll all be screwed.

It won't work here....just tell us a tax amount, and leave us alone!!

Re:I was gonna frist post (2)

i kan reed (749298) | about 4 months ago | (#45672103)

You know that the "tell us a tax amount" is a thing that other countries can do because of unified national identity databases, right? In some places, you don't have to "do your taxes". The government just sends you a bill for what they didn't take out over the year.

Re:I was gonna frist post (2)

Dynedain (141758) | about 4 months ago | (#45672361)

You know that the "tell us a tax amount" is a thing that other countries can do because of unified national identity databases, right? In some places, you don't have to "do your taxes". The government just sends you a bill for what they didn't take out over the year.

No, it's because their tax code isn't so bloated and screwed up as ours. Printed on 8.5x11, the US tax code is 74,000 pages long (well, actually 73,954).

The fact that the IRS can come knocking on your door and send you fines for not filing your taxes is pretty clear that they don't need a cross-agency centralized national identity database to do so.

Re:I was gonna frist post (2)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 4 months ago | (#45672545)

No, it's because their tax code isn't so bloated and screwed up as ours. Printed on 8.5x11, the US tax code is 74,000 pages long (well, actually 73,954).

You know, I was about to add a reply to the person you replied to, but then I read your post and it could not be more spot on!!

The person above you was apparently only talking about personal tax too, for a country. It's a different story here in the US as that you also have state and sometimes city taxation to deal with too, and if you're a business owner, or working 1099 contracting, well...a whole new kettle of fish there.

No, a national ID wouldn't help this at all. Currently the answer is, if you have tax requirements above the 1099 EZ form for the Feds, just is best to hire a CPA and let them deal with it.

I certainly do wish we had an easier, more straightforward system, some sort of flat tax or national sales tax. But that would relieve the Feds of too much power and hence, we'll likely never get there.

Re:I was gonna frist post (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45672913)

I certainly do wish we had an easier, more straightforward system, some sort of flat tax or national sales tax. But that would relieve the Feds of too much power and hence, we'll likely never get there.

There is also the matter of such taxation being regressive. But I hear that's something the Libertarians prefer, so maybe that isn't an issue for you.

Re:I was gonna frist post (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45675077)

Not filing not paying. They bust you for not filing even if you're owed a refund.

Re:I was gonna frist post (1)

mjwx (966435) | about 4 months ago | (#45678061)

The government just sends you a bill for what they didn't take out over the year.

Dont know about you, but I'd rather the government sends me a cheque for the amount they weren't meant to take (seeing as tax contributions by pay period in Australia are controlled by your employer's accounting system, not the govt, its the market doing it). But seriously, in June would you rather get a cheque or a bill. If you opt for a bill, I suggest you seek mental help.

Re:I was gonna frist post (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45680701)

We can't even get a fucking website working

Do you have any idea how many perfectly working "fucking websites" the US Government runs? Everything in the .gov and .mil domains are US government web sites. I just used one a few months ago when I registered copyright for my book. It was a hell of a lot better than the site used to register an ISBN (Bowker, a private entity that handles ISBNs in the US but is non-governmental). Been to the Census Bureau website? You can access all that data from your browser, and make custom spreadsheets there. Farmers around here use the USDA and FNS web sites with no problem.

ONE fucking huge assed web site has problems handling insane amounts of traffic, amounts that would probably overwhelm slashdot, when it's brand new and all the kinks weren't worked out in time and you say "We can't even get a fucking website working".

Christ, man, you're delusional. How was that last tea party meeting?

The solution is simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45671447)

Just use SOAP over HTTPS - that's what X-Road basically is.

Re: The solution is simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45677681)

Firstly, no significant part of the ID-card solution came from Finland. Secondly, x-road is not soap over https. It adds (in addition to link monitoring, service discovery, legal framework etc. ) request provability and centralized access management.

It's no wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45671453)

I live in Finland and this doesn't surprise me at all...

When it comes to IT, we're all talk and no action :(

Re:It's no wonder... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45671661)

I live in Finland and this doesn't surprise me at all...

When it comes to IT, we're all talk and no action :(
What a clueless post! I too live in Finland and we have made many pioneering internet inventions like

* The Linux kernel
* A web browser before web https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erwise [wikipedia.org]
* Secure Shell protocol or SSH
* Internet Relay Chat

etc

Re:It's no wonder... (3, Insightful)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 4 months ago | (#45671903)

Erwise: Started March 1992, Released April, 1992
WorldWideWeb: Proposed in 1989, Started late 1990, Released August 1991

I don't think "before" means what you think it means, but I'll accept the other three.

Re:It's no wonder... (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 4 months ago | (#45671909)

Also, many daily services like online banking, are premium quality. Actually, I dare to say that if you hire Finns to make any kind of web service, the general quality is usually quite good.

Re:It's no wonder... (1)

qwijibo (101731) | about 4 months ago | (#45671965)

Invention and adoption are two totally different animals. There are plenty of examples where inferior technologies succeed or superior technologies fail.

In this case, it sounds like the original technology was good, but for it to be useful, it needs an implementation in a larger framework. Just like the best tires in the world aren't all that useful without an appropriate vehicle to mount them on.

Re:It's no wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45672331)

Yes, all years ago... Please update your info on recent innovations.

Re:It's no wonder... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45672417)

But then, you aren't even able to close a HTML tag.

Re:It's no wonder... (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 4 months ago | (#45672923)

What a clueless post! I too live in Finland and we have made many pioneering internet inventions like

We have a proverb that could be roughly translated as "you can't become a prophet at home".

Also, Erwise post-dates the WWW. Did you notice how nonsensical your clam is? That's like saying "we've invented alphabet even before human speech appeared". Think twice next time.

Re:It's no wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45681895)

What a clueless post! I too live in Finland and we have made many pioneering internet inventions like

We have a proverb that could be roughly translated as "you can't become a prophet at home".

Also, Erwise post-dates the WWW. Did you notice how nonsensical your clam is? That's like saying "we've invented alphabet even before human speech appeared". Think twice next time.

I hate those nonsensical clams. The ones wearing party hats and speaking gibberish, you know the ones I'm talking about.

How much did X-Road cost to develop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45671523)

How much did X-Road cost to develop, and how long did it take? Maybe the US government could learn something about creating websites that work for a reasonable price.

Re: How much did X-Road cost to develop? (1)

shitzu (931108) | about 4 months ago | (#45675183)

X-road is not also much a website per se but an background infrastructure to exchange data from different (state and private) databases and websites.

I don't know in what way this is finnish invention, AFAIK it was entirely developed in Estonia from the start. Maybe the idea as such originated in Finland. And p.s. - its open source.

Re: How much did X-Road cost to develop? (1)

kaladorn (514293) | about 4 months ago | (#45675469)

The post mentions Finland's contribution was the national ID card system.

Re: How much did X-Road cost to develop? (1)

shitzu (931108) | about 4 months ago | (#45676039)

National id card system maybe originated from Finland. But X-road is more for server to server communication infrastructure, so its a bit different thing. And that is local. Id card is just one way of authenticating users.

how does this work on (1)

goombah99 (560566) | about 4 months ago | (#45671533)

how does this work on days when it isn't working? All service "access" cards are inherently also service denial systems if you don't have a card or the access system is down. Is their a fail over system available to every service access point?

Re:how does this work on (3, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | about 4 months ago | (#45671603)

You end up with a choice of: 1) wait for the service to come back up; or 2) visit an office in person and talk to a civil servant.

Basically the same choice you have when your bank's internet banking is down. If you need to initiate a transfer, you either wait for it to come back up, or you walk into a bank to do it. If their backend system is down, you can't walk into a bank either, so you just wait in that case. Same here; if you want to register a new corporation and the site is down, you either fill out the registration on paper and submit it the old-fashioned way, or you wait for the site to come back up.

Re:how does this work on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45673705)

Works fine unless the bank's nearest physical office is in another town. Yes, in some places they have cut back that far.

Re:how does this work on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45671737)

Or, how does the system work when offices are closed due to budgetary constraints? In other words, is one form of breakdown worse than the other, and thus worth invoking more kabuki theater media/social/political freakout drama?

More importantly, does it scale, and can it be implemented separately for different service units (such as US states, coynties or cities), but can sthese separatee systems still interact meaningfully?

Re:how does this work on (3, Informative)

fatphil (181876) | about 4 months ago | (#45671841)

I'm not a big user (e.g. I sign my company's annual reports once a year), but I know other poeple who use it a lot more, and I've never known the ID card infrastructure to be down. That's one of the benefits of a small country - we'll never have to cope with a third of a billion people wanting to use a system.

The biggest issue I had was java/driver/OS incompatibilities which mean that I can only use the card and card-reader on my g/f's x86_64 machine, not my POWER machine, nor my x86 laptop (all running linux). Anyone with delusions that java actually actually runs everywhere at this juncture should be taken outside and put out of my misery.

Re:how does this work on (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 4 months ago | (#45672013)

"That's one of the benefits of a small country - we'll never have to cope with a third of a billion people wanting to use a system."

Something many people overlook when saying we should adapt X country's Y system to the US. Estonia has 1.33 million people. Finland has 5.4 million people. The US has 20 states with larger populations than Finland (40 larger than Estonia)... it makes a big difference when trying to scale.

Re:how does this work on (2)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about 4 months ago | (#45674469)

Then perhaps it should work like a group of united States. Where states are left up to their own vices for setting up laws and services. And if one state does something that another likes they can adopt it. Like Finland adopting Estonia's system. And the federal government is left to do little more than the EU does. Central currency, regulate trade between states, etc.

Re: how does this work on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45683711)

Except the EU is piloting a cross union x-road :-)

Re:how does this work on (1)

linnumees (1147107) | about 4 months ago | (#45672179)

The biggest issue I had was java/driver/OS incompatibilities which mean that I can only use the card and card-reader on my g/f's x86_64 machine, not my POWER machine, nor my x86 laptop (all running linux). Anyone with delusions that java actually actually runs everywhere at this juncture should be taken outside and put out of my misery.

That was because the Java applet contained platform-specific code for some bits that couldn't be (or just weren't) done in Java. But we've overcome that for now, more or less.

Re:how does this work on (2)

fisted (2295862) | about 4 months ago | (#45672449)

The single only platform java will ever run on is the jvm. It indeed is one of the least portable languages around.

Re:how does this work on (1)

kaladorn (514293) | about 4 months ago | (#45675485)

I can carry a JVM on a USB key as well as complete Javadocs. I'd say its quite portable!

(Okay, that's a dumb comment, but seriously... yours is a bit much too)

Re:how does this work on (1)

fisted (2295862) | about 4 months ago | (#45675793)

Yes, yours is. No, mine is not, you just didn't think about it, or you consider implementing a jvm a trivial matter.
Or, are you even thinking that just because a machine is virtual, it doesn't qualify as a platform?

Finland: be careful! (1)

hooiberg (1789158) | about 4 months ago | (#45671555)

Usually, governments trying to automate such things, find out it is more expensive, in stead of a money saver. Support and maintenance are always more expensive than budgeted, because a realistic budget would prevent the project from being started, hence losing prestige. In the Netherlands, government IT projects fail as a rule, by costing at least several times the budget, taking several times the planned time to create, and never being able to perform to specifications. By the time the project is so far finished that is no longer useless, the laws have been changed and the project is still useless. I hope Finland is careful and reluctant in the adoption this X-road thing, and applies a realistic view on the matter.

Re:Finland: be careful! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45671701)

Only in the US, where companies bribe officials to get very expensive contracts that look cheap.

Re:Finland: be careful! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45671889)

was wondering when we could get some biased and lobbied opinions on /., thanks for weighing in to maintain the status quo!

-All Government Contract Companies Ever

Re:Finland: be careful! (4, Interesting)

fatphil (181876) | about 4 months ago | (#45671907)

However, in Estonia, we tend to solve problems for about 1/20th of the budget of other countries. And deliver more quickly. And work. There was a healthcare example about a year or so ago. Some big consultancy said they could tweak the already-up-and-running system Finland was using for something stupid like a hundred million. We said "screw you", and wrote something better from scratch for about 5 million, which was set up in a way that it could be tweaked for other countries' use for next-to-nothing. (And yes, that was *tweaks* for a hundred million.)

I suspect that that particular healthcare thing is indeed part of this larger e-Government solution.

Everyone else designed the one to throw away. Finally, there's one worth keeping. (And no, I'm not blowing my own trumpet, I had no involvement with it at all, I'm not even sure which company was behind it.)

Re:Finland: be careful! (0)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 4 months ago | (#45672203)

Healthcare.gov is estimated to cost up to $677 million, or about $2.16 per capita for a brand new system.
A $5 million tweak in Estonia works out to be about $3.76 per capita... for a tweak.

Just something to consider.

Re:Finland: be careful! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45672765)

That put things in perspective. But I don't think it considers that the whole point of CS and IT is that it can reasonably scale up to handle much more (in this case, people). So it's not as simple as comparing cost per capita, imho.

Re:Finland: be careful! (1)

fatphil (181876) | about 4 months ago | (#45673827)

Given your last 2 replies to me (and possibly a few previous ones) it seems as if you have massive comprehension issues.

Clue - there was no "5 million tweak".

Re:Finland: be careful! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45675145)

When people bitch about a NASA contract for this-or-that for $1 million, then the $655M matters way more than per capita costs (yet they continue to ignore $billions/month for Afghanistan & Iraq deployments, new air craft carriers, etc).

most in the US have mastered knowing the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

Re:Finland: be careful! (1)

fatphil (181876) | about 4 months ago | (#45679129)

How can healthcare.gov only cost $677M when Oregon on its own is supposed to have spent $300M?

http://washingtonexaminer.com/oregon-signs-up-just-44-people-for-obamacare-despite-spending-300-million/article/2540529

The Estonia figure was all inclusive, so you're not comparing like with like, you need to add all 50 extra $300M's, or whatever they may be.
(And if they are all indeed $300M, then you may conclude that we do things 50 times more cheaply, not 20 times, as originally guestimated.)

Re:Finland: be careful! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45672663)

Note that this system is also Finnish-made original.

It's not that we don't have capable software houses who could deliver govermental systems for 1/20th of the usual price (we do), the problem is getting to this big brother-inner circle in the goverment to sell these projects above one unnamed traditional rip-off software house which makes 99% of tax-paid software, and usually it does them badly...

Re:Finland: be careful! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45673089)

And good for you.... the healthcare system developed by the might TIETO was and is a BIG failure. (Thou everything coming from Tieto is usually full of overpriced shit)

Re:Finland: be careful! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45673545)

My understanding is that the Finnish system interfaces with tons of legacy systems (most hospitals had some sort of existing system in use before this nationwide thing, all different from eachother), whereas the Estonian system either replaced old systems or was the first electronic system to be used in those hospitals.

Re:Finland: be careful! (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45673993)

Mmmm,

I first saw what the Estonians were doing in 2001 or 2002.

At the time I said to all and sundry how amazed i was with what the Estonians were able to do on a small budget, against what the so-called giants of the technological world were doing routinely spending billions for a hundreds of invariably failed major IT projects. Estonia did have the 'advantages' of, first coming to the arena of 'modernisation' and IT integration late, second not having a heap of spare cash to blow on IT projects, third having to build their infrastructure and software ecology from the ground up, and fourth being able to integrate many disparate players (but most critically the banks and financial sector) from Day 1.

That said, what they did (on what we in the rest of the world would call 'pennies') still remains one of the most cost effective, efficient, useful and pervasive IT value adding I've ever seen. They didn't invest much in 'big metal', or huge development teams, or bring on board massive communications, hardware, and software consortiums ... they concentrated on what could be done with a small to mid range systems client-server environment running back-end database packages for Web and other open standards based front ends ... and surprisingly they coordinated it all so that it all worked together relatively seamlessly. As the elements of the system came online, they got new stakeholders onboard, developed new functionality and applications, and incorporated that into their.

The Estonians I met at a conference in Canada asked me to write a paper outlining my support for, and opinions of, their efforts, to be used to support some acquisitions they had in mind for the next government budget .... which I was delighted to do.

If any government or major enterprise is going to embark on a major IT project in the near future, I'd recommend they look at how the Estonians do it. For 1/10 of the cost or better Estonia can develop and integrate systems, and add immense value, convenience and functionality to its citizens lives .... which is way better than any other country I've seen over the last 10-20 years.

Re:Finland: be careful! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45676205)

One can spend hundreds of millions on it projects and have them fail. Or spend just a little, and have a huge success. It isn't that hard do take the second option. The open-source world is one example - complete operating systems and just about anything you need - for free. Stuff that generally works better than anything the commercial world has to offer. Uglier at times, unpolished, but works.

No big contracts, little money involved. No top-down planning, no deadlines. No lock-in. Involve the users, to the extent that they often extend the software themselves. The approach works - but you'll find that the big players aren't interested. Nothing in it for them - probably why it is cheaper.

Re:Finland: be careful! (1)

linnumees (1147107) | about 4 months ago | (#45671915)

That is just bad management, nothing else.

The main benefit of all the IT stack is that it saves a lot of time: you don't have to run around with a bunch of papers between various government agencies who manage everything digitally anyway. The X-Road is a data exchange layer: it is a common service-oriented stack to connect various databases and IT systems together, it just provides a secure way of doing it, nothing else. Secure as in with strong cryptography, auditable, etc. Starting a company, doing taxes and other services are just some things that use it somehow (to query some databases, etc), those weren't part of the deal.

There is one thing that just about any Estonian abroad is really going to miss: getting things done quickly when it comes to government agencies and various paperwork. A common data exchange layer and a digital ID that you can use for signing documents are the basis of that.

Meanwhile in the United States (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45671561)

We can't even issue ID's to our citizens without making them go through more hoops than a Dolphin at Seaworld.

Re:Meanwhile in the United States (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45671671)

/me wonders what those hoops would be?

I have a driver's license, a passport, and a Global Entry ID. Nothing about getting them was onerous. I didn't even have to bribe anyone.

Re:Meanwhile in the United States (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45671863)

That's nice. I had to travel out of the county where I live, because while we have a clerk of courts, and one for elections, we don't have a DMV office. Then I had to order a birth certificate from another state, and a marriage record from a third.

Re:Meanwhile in the United States (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 4 months ago | (#45673385)

I have a driver's license, a passport, and a Global Entry ID. Nothing about getting them was onerous.

I know driver's license and passport, but WTF is a Global Entry ID?

Never heard of that in the US before....

Re:Meanwhile in the United States (1)

Kalriath (849904) | about 4 months ago | (#45700015)

It's basically your fast track through customs. Why it can't be added as an endorsement on your passport is a mystery, but... US. So I guess it makes sense when you put it that way.

Re:Meanwhile in the United States (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 4 months ago | (#45673937)

Getting an ID is only a problem if you don't want to be ID'd. For example if you're an election official and want to vote a half dozen or so times [hinterlandgazette.com] you wouldn't want to show an ID card.

Re:Meanwhile in the United States (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45674523)

And then you see it was a poll worker, and that there's no evidence voter ID would have done anything to prevent her actions.

Much like say this guy:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_P._White

great ideas (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45671587)

These sorts of cards are very cool. However, they are unfortunately usually implemented badly and/or become a haven for people to rip each other off.

New technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45671589)

Wow, this is what happens when you let technology work for you, instead of listening to all the critics and complainers.

Want it in the UK (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | about 4 months ago | (#45671613)

Wow, if we could save 2% of GDP, that's £40B, which is our entire education budget.

Re:Want it in the UK (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45671927)

I'm not sure if this system scales up in cost savings in the way you hope.
Estonia is a VERY SMALL country with a VERY SMALL GDP.
Any fixed amount saved would be a pretty big percentage of the GDP, while if the same fixed amount would be saved in UK you wouldn't notice it.
Just saying.
You'd have to make a full analysis if and how much it would save. Assuming the per GDP saved would be the same... would be most likely wrong estimate.

PS. I live in Estonia and I use the ID card, etc.

TIL: Estonia can make IT projects work (2)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about 4 months ago | (#45671633)

Perhaps the next iteration of healthcare.gov could be outsourced there. Just a thought.

Re:TIL: Estonia can make IT projects work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45671667)

Sorry, they haven't paid enough bribes.

Maybe if they get around to buying some politicians.

Re:TIL: Estonia can make IT projects work (1, Funny)

cold fjord (826450) | about 4 months ago | (#45671715)

Unfortunately the way that would work out in practice with the current government would be: If you like your Estonian doctor, you can keep your Estonian doctor. That's great if you're in Estonia, but that would make visits from the US to doctor's offices a pain.

Re:TIL: Estonia can make IT projects work (1)

crtreece (59298) | about 4 months ago | (#45674413)

Outsourcing it to Elbonia didn't work out very well.

Re:TIL: Estonia can make IT projects work (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about 4 months ago | (#45674483)

Ah, but the Estonians do not wear silly hats (except at Rennaissance festivals) and their level of mud is much lower (except during the spring thaw).

Seriously, they're about the most wired country in Europe, having brought you Skype, digital voting and a network of electric car charging station. ThankYouVeryMuch. If anybody can figure out a way to make some nutbar digital system work, it's them.

Disclaimer: Half Estonian. Making nutbar digital things work daily.

Re:TIL: Estonia can make IT projects work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45674977)

Better to outsource the whole government to Estonia. They have a tax code which, printed out, will fit in one hand - hence far less evasion, real or imagined, because it's so easy to figure out and follow. Then they go and do far more, with far less, than the Republicrats could ever imagine. It's like the land of Oz to most Yanks, so far removed from modern American reality as to seem unreachable.

all-time high fuel economy (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45671757)

Today, EPA issued its annual report that tracks the average fuel economy of vehicles sold in the United States. The report shows that model year 2012 vehicles achieved an all-time high fuel economy of 23.6 miles per gallon (mpg). This represents a 1.2 mpg increase over the previous year, making it the second largest annual increase in the last 30 years. Fuel economy has now increased in seven of the last eight years.

“Today’s new vehicles are cleaner and more fuel efficient than ever, saving American families money at the gas pump and helping to keep the air that we breathe cleaner,” said Janet McCabe, Acting Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “Each year new technologies are coming on line to keep driving these positive trends toward greater and greater efficiency.”

Fuel economy will continue to improve under the Obama administration’s historic National Clean Car Program standards. The program doubles fuel economy standards by 2025 and cuts vehicle greenhouse gas emissions by half. The standards will save American families $1.7 trillion dollars in fuel costs, and by 2025 will result in an average fuel savings of more than $8,000 per vehicle. The program will also save 12 billion barrels of oil, and by 2025 will reduce oil consumption by more than 2 million barrels a day – as much as half of the oil imported from OPEC every day.

The large fuel economy improvement in model year 2012 is consistent with longer-term trends. Fuel economy has increased by 2.6 mpg, or 12 percent, since 2008, and by 4.3 mpg, or 22 percent, since 2004. The average carbon dioxide emissions of 376 grams per mile in model year 2012 also represented a record low. While EPA does not yet have final data for model year 2013, preliminary projections are that fuel economy will rise by 0.4 mpg, and carbon dioxide emissions will decrease by 6 grams per mile in 2013.

EPA’s annual “Light-Duty Automotive Technology, Carbon Dioxide Emissions, and Fuel Economy Trends: 1975 through 2013” attributes much of the recent improvement to the rapid adoption of more efficient technologies such as gasoline direct injection engines, turbochargers, and advanced transmissions.
Consumers have many more high fuel economy choices due to these and other technologies, such as hybrid, diesel, electric, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Consumers can choose from five times more car models with a combined city/highway fuel economy of 30 mpg or more, and from twice as many SUVs that achieve 25 mpg or more, compared to just five years ago.

The new report can be found at: http://epa.gov/otaq/fetrends.htm [epa.gov]

Typo (1)

Iniamyen (2440798) | about 4 months ago | (#45671797)

What is "is," and why is it based on national electronic ID cards? I think it (is) should be "it" instead of "is."

Finns don't know anything about software anyhow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45671849)

So this is not surprising.

Headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45672009)

... is wrong. The e-government software solution we're sharing is Estonian made. The original ID-card concept that the software is using was borrowed from Finland.

X-Road simpler than it sounds (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45672077)

What I've understood it's a middleware which routes (service registration, queuing) messages between services.

While this does not sound like rocket science, apparently it has allowed them not to pursue commitee made generic interfaces between services (see HL7 crap). The amount of money that is spent on HL7 fiddling around the globe per year must amount to a small nations yearly budget (citation needed, I only know of the Finnish amounts).

Instead of design-by-committee they probably have been able to "use interfaces that seem to work" and even add some nifty features like a citizen being able to log in and see which goverment workers (like healtcare professionals) have accessed the citizens records. I don't know how much the auditing really covers but imagine if your country had such capabilities, wouldn't that sound nice, something along the lines "wow they really have a working system"?

Though, could be I'm 100% wrong and Estonians just have a lot more efficient committees regarding the interfaces. All in all, their e-goverment services sound very advanced.

Youb fail it? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45672281)

bureaucratic And

Fifty Cards Better Than One (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45672337)

The US system is certainly better, with 50 different ID cards for driving, which can also be used to board an airplane, or vote (thanks anti-fraud voter suppression bullshit) and different identifiers for retirement benefits, and different identifiers for health insurance

Why have one identity? It could be used to identify you!

Sigh. The reason the US doesn't have a real government is that the citizens don't want to have a real government. Can't have the govt identifying and tracking you. Even though it's pretty trivial to do that anyway

We could make so many complicated transactions simpler by having a real ID. All for the greater good. But the fools who think they're anonymous and getting away with something, or might someday want to get away with something, or don't want to be marked with the number of the beast (Jove help us) are standing in the way. If "they" want to find you, "they" will and the only reason anyone gets away with anything is they haven't bothered looking for you yet

There are risks, of course. (1)

Let's All Be Chinese (2654985) | about 4 months ago | (#45672803)

Kudos for staying under budget, Estonia. But let's look at what we have here. An easy-to-use, ubiquitous identity solution that's easily integrated everywhere?

Sounds cool, right? But only if you trust your government, and every government thereafter. With small countries (Estonia, Iceland) this is much easier than with bigger countries. And I'm not even talking Russia or the US, but, say, the supposedly benign and enlightened folks in the UK. First there was the anti-child porn filter, that wasn't to be used for anything else, honest. Then there's that every internet connection is now to be filtered by default for the children's well-being and safety from porn; you have to ring up and admit you're a pervert and prove your identity to "opt-in to porn" (notice dishonest wordgame tactic, that "opt-in" is in the law itself). Let's take the logging and snooping by GCHQ on behalf of the NSA as a given and move on. For next up: The rightsholders mafia have figured out that a few simple lawsuits can make ISPs filter their client's internet connections on their behalf, too.

This sort of thing would be that much easier with an electronic identity card. Staying with the example, the UK already had identity cards, due to world war two, and only got rid of them in the fifties. During that time, the number of "functions" associated with the card rose from three (3) to thirty-five (35). That's quite a bit of function creep, well before the computer became mainstream.

There are many more examples. A canonical example would be the 100 flowers campaign. But now with the internet and ubiquitous electronic surveillance and handy dandy electronic identity cards attached. I don't think I want to live in such a country.

"It could never happen here" is not a valid excuse, even if you can prove that to be true in all cases in your country. So simply rolling out electronic identity cards is not something I want to happen. Exactly because they're so easy to use, they are a direct threat to my privacy.

The fix, by the by, is not to make them hard to use. It's to figure out how to make zero-knowledge identification work, to support multiple identities in a sensible way, and so on. Because we do need electronic identities, but the standard translation of one state issued identity per person is no longer good enough. Hasn't been for a while. Just count the number of times you've used a throwaway email address.

So if Estonia wants to keep on being a leader in this field, they will have to learn how to do this.

Re:There are risks, of course. (4, Insightful)

qbast (1265706) | about 4 months ago | (#45673921)

Dude, if you think that having separate driving license, passport and insurance number makes you somehow harder to track, then you are completely delusional.

I am proud to be an estonian (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45674319)

After reading this article I am proud to be an estonian. I am surprised how low tech US is.

This is cool but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45676211)

What are the factors that have prevented Finland from successfully implementing up until now? Merely coming from Estonia may not be enough even counting 10 years of additional development.

I'm thinking there may be political, cultural or economic issues blocking Finnish deployment.

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