and Identity

Citizen Beta - October 28th

Citizen Beta is a community of people in the UK working in civic technology, empowering citizens, and government transformation. They join up a broad group of existing civic tech communities in a quickly growing ecosystem. These people and organisations are all mainly involved in developing how citizens interact with their governments, cities, or politics. They're often working on very similar problems but from within different scopes, and with a focus on different outcomes. Connecting these people starts to join up some dots, presenting opportunity for collaboration and stronger ongoing relationships.


The event was the last in this series of 3 events in London. At the beginning of the evening the Estonian Government's e-Residency team explained how they built and executed e-Residency in record time and on a tiny budget, and shared some of their aspirations for the project in their own country and others. We heared perspectives from other key proponents of e-Government and identity, and finally presented the outcomes of the previous 2 events. This framed the agenda for the attendees to break into teams and hack some of the existing ideas, and new ideas, before presenting these back to the room for discussion.


Our Guest panel included:

Taavi Kotka, CIO, Government of Estonia. Taavi has a strong background in the private sector, starting his career as a programmer, rapidly rising to be a Managing Director of the most successful software development company in the region – Nortal (then Webmedia). He has founded a number of start-ups,  and was named European CIO of the Year 2014 (by ICT Spring), he was the president of the Estonian Association of Information Technology and Telecommunications (ITL) and he was elected as an Entrepreneur of the year in 2011 (by Ernst&Young). Taavi has been the brainpower behind many Estonian e-government innovative initiatives like e-residency, data embassy, no-legacy policy etc.


Robin Walker leads on international work for the UK’s identity assurance programme, GOV.UK Verify. In his role, he has led for the UK in negotiation of the new European eIDAS Regulation (one of his next jobs will be to implement it in the UK) and been involved in European pilots on the use of digital identity across borders (such as the STORK 2.0 pilot). He is also involved in wider international work on electronic identity, such as the emerging work of the UN Commission on International Trade Law on the topic. Robin also represents the UK in other European work on interoperability, such as the work of the e-government expert group’s work on the ‘once only principle’ and the Connecting Europe Facility’s work on tools for cross-border services. This gives Robin the chance to be involved in work on the practical re-use of cross-border electronic identity.

Kaspar Korjus, Managing Director of e-Residency in the Government of Estonia. At 27, Kaspar has overseen the introduction of e-Residency across government.


The evening was hosted by NewSpeak House, which was founded to foster the creation of technology to disrupt the UK political / media / government complex. It is a residential incubator and members’ club located in East London.