Defense & modern warfare exercise: social networking triggers activism – Let’s Do It, Romania!

Let’s Do It, Estonia! The news that caught my attention:

On May 3, 2008 with help of 50 000 volunteers more than 10 000 tons of garbage gathered and Estonia was cleaned up from illegal waste. Via (click to see movie)

At a first glance you can note:

  • Volunteers, military uniforms, informal leadership;
  • Using Google Earth to map the garbage;
  • Using TV stars to endorse the event;
  • Online registration for volunteers;
  • 1 day event/500.000 eur costs for the government.

ESTONIA – THE MOST WIRED COUNTRY IN EUROPE

Estonia has a strong information technology sector, started in mid-1990s, and has been mentioned as the most “wired” and advanced country in Europe in the terms of e-Government of Estonia. Therefore, Estonia faced high security risks regarding cyberattacks.

Estonia has nearly 1.3 million inhabitants and the local government uses information technology as an instrument for increasing administrative capabilities. Because the implementation was a success, it changed the country and the living environment for citizens in one of the biggest social experiments of modern times.

INTERNET VOTING IMPLEMENTED FOR THE FIRST TIME IN ESTONIA

The United States have a special interest in this country because here is where they tested for the first time a new voting system suitable for the new world order connected 24/7 to the Internet. Estonia has pursued the development of the e-state and e-government in such an advanced matter that Internet voting is used in political elections. The first Internet voting took place in 2005 for local elections and then in 2007 for parliamentary elections. At that time 30,275 individuals voted over the Internet and Estonia opened a new door for e-democracy. In less than 10 years, Internet voting will be implemented on a larger scale and independent brands like Google or Yahoo will ensure transparency as their registered users will vote for the local mayor or for the president.

DEFENSE AND MODERN WARFARE

CCDCOE, the Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (Estonian: K5 or Küberkaitse Kompetentsikeskus) is a NATO electronic warfare installation. The military base is located in Tallinn, Estonia and was one of the last security projects implemented by the Bush administration.

In 2007 a military doctrine of an e-military of Estonia was officially introduced. At that time the country was under massive cyberattacks and many defense institutions around the world had a live study case to learn from. I remember that at that time a had 2 posts on my blog, one regarding cyber-terrorism in Estonia and one related to NATO-Russia relations.

At that time, Estonian officials said that some of the cyberattacks came from Russian government computers, including Kremlin. Moscow denied any role and as I look back the Estonian story seemed to be a cover up. I strongly doubt that a Russian hacker will leave traces and he’ll stay in Kremlin like there are no other buildings in Russia but two things are certain from this diplomatic scandal:

  • -Russia suffered a negative campaign although they said they had nothing to do with this;
  • -Toomas Hendrik Ilves (Estonian president) met with the President of the United States, George W. Bush, and they decided to invest in the Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre, as a new unit.

The unit has also other responsibilities which include conduction of the cyber defence focused training, awareness campaigns, workshops, and courses and also developing and conducting cyber defence focused exercises.

COLLECTING GARBAGE, A CYBER DEFENSE EXERCISE

When the army decides to implement an exercise is not always done with guns, tanks and airplanes. A modern army uses other tools. This is why we see online social networking spreading rapidly the action calls, we see Google Earth for mapping garbage areas and people being organized in order to achieve a goal.

In case you wonder who are the people in the movie below:

– Toomas Trapido – journalist for a few years, volunteer, then politician in the Green Party and Estonian Parliament;

Rainer N̵lvak Рentrepreneur has advocated for the Estonian energy industry to move away from oil dependency (Russia) Рhe also funded three companies: Microlink Baltics, Curonia Research, Celecure.

  • -Curonia Research is a med-tech and bio-tech company. Their news portal DailyPerfect is a personalized news site focused on predictive content personalization and behavioral targeting technology. Curonia is involved in a number of software applications dealing with computer use, stress and tiredness, social networking and personalized news.
  • -MicroLink Estonia is the biggest provider of IT services in Estonia and belongs to the Eesti Telekom Group (24% owned by Estonian government).
  • -Celecure received 1.6 million euros from four founders of Skype

– Ahti Heinla is Skype chief architect, investor and nature protector.

And here is the movie promoting the event, I hope you now see it from another perspective:

ROMANIAN CITIZENS NOT PREPARED FOR THE INTERNET

You can only admire Estonian officials, ngo activists and entrepreneurs for building the first web 2.0 country.

I admire the proper use of intelligence and new media and I can only be scared when I think of Romania, Romanian politicians and Romanian citizens. This is because the politicians are often seen dancing and posing as popular guys in the country side, journalists are afraid to speak their minds and media is used only to entertain and not educate people. Volunteering is damned and I’m shocked to see government employees being allowed holidays in order to save budget money.

The most scary thing is that the mayor, the president, the prime-minister and all the high-ranked officials only heard of Google from their counselors and have no idea about the new world we live in. This is mainly because the young voters don’t exercise their rights and because only old persons are stable voters. This is why Romanian politicians promise food and pensions for the old persons instead of promising sustainable development (green energy, bio-tech, Internet). Even the scandals involving Romanian secret services are concerning 1980 activities like smuggling guns or “listening” to politicians interested in horticulture, sheep and cattle (same people above dancing with the peasants every two days).

Last but not least, my experience with local authorities and romanian (40+) managers revealed a different and old way of thinking where bureaucracy and slow decision making define a lifestyle. The new generation is faster, more aggressive, with no concern regarding privacy, easier to influence, smarter but even Internet content served to this group is often trivial and very emotional.

All cyberattacks focused on Romania generate panic and expose a weak system. The banking system was targeted several times by major attacks and because of the major issues, low-life scammers are setting up phishing businesses or disinformation campaigns in order to gather personal data, banking accounts or just to sell fake concert tickets or services. Confusion is often generated by inexperienced media vehicles when presenting in mainstream unverified information collected from the Internet.

Of course, there are lots of aspects to discuss but the Estonian success is a very good study case for a special training I’m working on regarding Intelligence and New Media in a competitive society.

Further reading:

-help of public-private partnership:

– Estonian ministers work in an ‘e-cabinet’:

– Clips about e-Estonia (Windows Media Video)

LATER EDIT

This post in 2009 was not useless 🙂

#Local campaign in 2010 in Romania:

Let’s Do It, Romania!Let’s Do It, Romania!