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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Monday, 13.07.2020, 01:36

LHV: Estonian e-residency, prevention of money laundering working against each other

BC, Tallinn, 05.06.2019.Print version
In its present form, the Estonian e-residency program is in contradiction with the rules of prevention of money laundering, the head of cyber security at Estonian financial group LHV said at a roundtable on cyber security hosted by the Estonian Banking Association, citing LETA/BNS.

The cyber security chief at LHV, Tiit Hallas, pointed out that the decisions concerning cyber security made by the state have a direct impact on business. 

"Our objectives as a nation should stand above individual sectors and should not be working against one another," Hallas said. 

"For banks, the e-citizens program and related expectations in their present form are clearly in contradiction with the rules of combating money laundering -- the fight against money laundering would require the banks here to rather accept fewer foreign nationals, and in ideal case rather the ones who can demonstrate a clear connection with Estonia," Hallas said.

Representatives of both LHV and Swedbank pointed out that the opening up of the infrastructure of banks to startups for the provision of service that is about to happen soon offers immense opportunities to the private sector, as in principle the newcomers will be able to offer banking services without being banks.

"The biggest challenge will be for the people to indeed understand what they consent to. Clients unfortunately do not always realize  that they are giving businesses which are not banks the right to operate with their data," Hallas said.

Toomas Vaks, head of cyber risks at Swedbank, said it has unfortunately been the case that society's expectations for startups in the field of finance are totally different from their expectations for banks.

"Fintechs are often lauded for things that traditional banks get fined for. At the same time, it has to be admitted that the European banking market is stagnant and there's little innovation in the large banks. Letting fintechs in there to taunt is good in the economic sense," Vaks said.

Merle Maigre, deputy director of Estonian exporter of cyber solutions CybExer Technologies, said that the image of Estonia as an effective digital state cannot be preserved without homework.

"Our approach to cyber security today is not comprehensive. While we do have a cyber security council, there is no sectoral leader who would have a clear responsibility and a sense of ownership as well as a voice in government. That party having responsibility  should understand the field as a whole and have powers to plan both human resources and money," Maigre said.

Eneken Tikk, senior researcher at TalTech and adviser at Ellex Raidla law office, emphasized the importance of cooperation.

"Last year the National Audit Office arrived at the conclusion that municipalities' information security related awareness is almost non-existent," she said, adding that development when it comes to cybersecurity should be facilitated by educating the groups of society and the institutions that are less knowledgeable about the topic. 

Maigre said that private sector would like to see in the state a cooperation partner who understands things and with whom a dialogue can be held.

"Private sector can come up with practical solutions for increasing cybersecurity. It is much better to do it when the state understands its responsibility and searches for possibilities to work together with the private sector in the long term, not on the basis of some Euro project alone searching for the cheapest solution for six months," Maigre said.

She named cyber education of children as a major topic in that respect.

"The work that the state and the private sector could do together with teachers should start long before high school, where cybersecurity becomes a topic today," Maigre said.

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