Finland's and Estonia's data exchange layers connected to one another on 7 February - the rapid exchange of information between the countries is now possible
Finland's Population Register Centre and the Republic of Estonia's Information System Authority have interconnected the two countries' data exchange layers X-Road and Suomi.fi to one another. This will make it technologically possible to transfer data electronically over the Gulf of Finland between organisations that have joined the countries' data exchange layers. A data exchange layer is a uniform data transfer method for information systems and simplifies the exchange of information. The two authorities entered into an agreement on connecting the layers to one another at the end of 2016.
"As the result of successful cooperation, Estonia and Finland have paved the way for a unique, uniform and secure data transfer solution between two countries. The interconnection of the data exchange layers will promote the development of future electronic services as the foundation for this – a solution for transferring data quickly and reliably – now exists," says Director Andrus Kaarelson from Estonia's Information System Authority.
This is the unique result of cooperation between two nations and a channel for information exchange between the two. Because of the increasing migration and commuting between the two countries, authorities in Finland and Estonia have been keenly waiting for the solution. For example, register data can be exchanged automatically so that the home municipality of Estonians living in Finland is marked correctly in Estonian registries. This, in turn, will influence the municipal services and social benefits citizens are provided in Estonia. There has also been a demand for the simple and reliable exchange of tax information between the countries' tax authorities. According to the agreement between the Population Register Centre and the Information System Authority, the organisations exchanging data will always agree bilaterally on the exchange of data. At present, 81 organisations have signed up for Finland's Suomi.fi data exchange layer. Approximately 1000 organisations have signed up for Estonia's X-Road.
In Finland, the Suomi.fi data exchange layer transfers data from the Business Information System, the Population Information System and the Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority's water meters.
"Finland and Estonia have engaged in cooperation to promote the exchange of information between their two countries for quite some time. Thus far, the transfer of data has been based on system-specific solutions. It is wonderful that we can now achieve a uniform data transfer solution for all information systems by connecting Finland's and Estonia's data exchange layers to one another," states Joonas Kankaanrinne, Director of digital services at the Population Register Centre.
The Population Register Centre's Suomi.fi data exchange layer and Estonia's X-Road are both based on the same technology, originally developed in Estonia. X-Road, for example, automatically manages the encryption and timestamping of transferred data, which makes it possible to verify the time at which data was transferred. The functionalities are in practice the same as when transferring data in the data exchange layer within Finland, but the connection makes transferring data to Estonia possible. The federation allows Finnish organizations in the data exchange layer to trust in the identity of Estonian organizations like those of Finnish actors. Other sector-specific and cross-border relationships are not necessary.
The data exchange layer technology is developed at the Nordic Institute for Interoperability Solutions, which Finland and Estonia together established.
Director Joonas Kankaanrinne
+358 50 549 2469