If you are working on a unique project, what impact will it have on both you and others?
During my time at the NATO CCD COE, I was provided an opportunity to work the 8th International Conference on Cyber Conflict (CyCon 2016). Every year, over 500 decision-makers and experts from government, military and industry from all around the world come together to approach the conference’s theme from legal, technology and strategy perspectives, often in an interdisciplinary manner. This year’s theme was Cyber Power, which asked participants how the traditional concept of power applies to cyberspace. The issues covered included international cooperation, technical challenges and requirements, conflict in cyberspace, legal framework, regulations, and standards. I was able to see widely known academics and practitioners in the cyber security field speak, including Thomas Rid, Jason Healey, David Sanger, and Estonian President Toomas Ilves.
How does your internship sponsor or agency contribute to the mission of national security?
The NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence is comprised of a diverse group of international experts in cyber security. They include legal scholars, policy and strategy experts as well as technology researchers with military, government and industry backgrounds. The international military organization focuses on interdisciplinary applied research and development, as well as consultations, trainings, and exercises in the field of cyber security. The Centre’s overall mission is to enhance capability, cooperation, and information sharing between NATO, Allies, and partners in cyber defense. The Centre is staffed and financed by its sponsoring nations and contributing participants. However, the Centre is not part of NATO command or force structure, nor is it funded from the NATO budget.
What are two interesting things about Estonia that the average person doesn’t know? Please use specific examples.
One of the most interesting aspects about Estonia is the e-Estonia movement. Estonia has emerged as one of the most advanced e-societies in the world thanks to their ID card. The Estonian ID card serves as an identity document and, within the European Union, also as a travel document. In addition to its physical use, the ID card is the key to almost every innovative e-service in Estonia. Inside this small document is a chip that not only holds information about the card's owner, but also two certificates, one of which is used to authenticate identity and the second to render a digital signature. Thanks to its security, the card is used in many web environments where ID verification is needed. Using the Internet for banking, participating in e-elections, doing taxes, and much more has now become the norm.
Another thing I found interesting about Estonia is that it is the least religious country in Europe, with only 14% of the population claiming a religious belief. However, when Estonia gained independence in 1918, there was a push to reintegrate pre-Christian beliefs. Pagan traditions can still be seen in modern Estonian culture, such as the annual midsummers festival, where people dance around bonfires, wear crowns made of flowers, and sing folk songs.