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Cablegate: Ict Ambassador Gross' Visit to Estonia

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RR RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLZ RUEHRN RUEHROV
DE RUEHTL #0212/01 1691329
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 171329Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY TALLINN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0674
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEHSS/OECD POSTS COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TALLINN 000212

FOR EEB/CIP/BA - WHIT WITTEMAN
EUR/NB FOR KATHERINE GARRY
HELSINKI FOR GLENN LEWIS
USEU FOR DAVID LIPPEATT

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL ECON BEXP PGOV OIIP TINT EN
SUBJECT: ICT AMBASSADOR GROSS' VISIT TO ESTONIA

Ref: (A) Tallinn 179
(B) Tallinn 196

1. (SBU) Summary: On May 26-27, Ambassador David A. Gross,
U.S. Coordinator for International Communications and
Information Policy, highlighted U.S. engagement on cyber
security and ICT issues with senior GOE officials as well
as U.S. and Estonian business leaders. Estonia?s Ministry
of Defense (MOD) expressed concern that the cyber attacks
of April 2007 may presage a "re-militarization of the
internet", while Minister of Economy Juhan Parts announced
the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) plans to open a
branch office in Estonia to support non-profit research and
development in hi-tech industries. The head of Skype,
Estonia's marquee company, previewed future voice-over
internet protocol (VOIP) products and discussed security
issues related to the use of peer-to-peer (P2P) software.
Ambassador Gross also addressed the American Chamber of
Commerce, and Estonia's second largest daily paper. End
Summary.

Cyber Security
--------------

2. (SBU) At Estonia's Cooperative Cyber Defense Center
(CCD) (ref B) Ambassador Gross and Embassy Tallinn's Charge
saw the center's classrooms, computer labs and other
facilities. CCD Director and Executive Officer, Raul Riik,
explained that while Estonia's Cyber Emergency Response
Team (CERT) is responsible for daily defense of Estonia's
critical cyber infrastructure, the CCD handles strategic,
long-term contingency planning. The CCD's Legal Advisor,
Eneken Tiik, added that they are working to identify the
proper legal framework in which the Center can operate
within the context of existing regimes of the UN, the WTO,
the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and other
national and international laws.

3. (SBU) CCD Scientist Rain Ottis later noted (referring to
the Internet's military origins in the 1960s) that the
Ministry of Defense (MOD) fears that "The Internet is being
re-militarized in preparation for a larger war between
hackers in the future." Events such as the massive
distributed denial-of-service attacks (DDOS) on Estonia in
April/May 2007 were a preview of what such attacks could
do. Now more than a year after the 2007 Cyber Attacks, MOD
Permanent Undersecretary Lauri Almann said that they are
still learning new things about the planning and execution
of those attacks. For example, the early waves of rolling
attacks began around 3:00 am in Estonia at a level of
intensity not strong enough to cripple infrastructure, but
intense enough to get responders up in the middle of the
night. Estimates of the number of countries where hijacked
computers employed in the 'bot-net' attacks were located
still range anywhere from 100-135, with the United States
hosting the most computers. MOD is attempting to create a
psychological profile of the types of cyber criminals who
would organize such attacks. This type of cyber forensics
and scenario modeling, in addition to classes and seminars,
would be a key part of the work of the MOD's Cyber Defense
Center.

Skype and the Future of VOIP
----------------------------

4. (SBU) Ambassador Gross met with several start-up
companies at 'Tehnopol', the country's leading business
incubator on the campus of the Tallinn University of
Technology to take the pulse of entrepreneurial spirit of
Estonia. Tehnopol has 140 resident companies in ICT,
biotech, chemical and materials production, services and
other fields. While some noted that access to venture
capital is a problem, larger concerns cited were the supply
of qualified labor, and business experience for their
employees and managers.

5. (SBU) The highlight of the visit to Tehnopol was a
meeting at the headquarters of Estonia's marquee company,
Skype. The country's signature IT brand, and a world
leader in VOIP technology, Skype was incubated at Tehnopol,
and its development offices and staff of approximately 300
are still located there. (Note: EBay purchased Skype for
$2.6 billion in September 2005. End Note) With 309
million users worldwide, General Manager Sten Tamkivi told
us that Skype's growth plan now is to improve functionality

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for users running Apple and Linux platforms, and to offer
new services such as SkypeFind (a yellow pages-type search
engine) and SkypePrime (a fee-based application for
delivering professional services such as tax or legal
advice over VOIP). Currently, Tamkivi said, 95 percent of
Skype's revenues come from calls to land lines
("SkypeOut.") He also noted that they introduced video
within the Skype application just two years ago, and today
over 30 percent of their global traffic is carrying near-
DVD quality video with voice calls.

6. (SBU) Tamkivi said that Skype views itself "...not as a
telecom company, but as a software company that interfaces
with telecoms in nearly 200 countries." Ambassador Gross
stressed that the United States is working to encourage
governments to not to impede VOIP technology. At the same
time, he cautioned Tamkivi to ensure that Skype addresses
security concerns their peer-to-peer (P2P) software could
potentially create vulnerabilities for viruses and other
malware to get past computer firewalls.

7. (U) On a separate note, Tamkivi acknowledged Skype's
special role in the Estonian economy, as one of the largest
and most diverse employers in the country. With nearly 300
employees representing 25 nationalities under one roof, he
hopes that if and when his veteran developers and designers
move on to other jobs in the country, their capital,
experience, contacts and confidence will be part of the
"next wave" of Estonian innovation and entrepreneurship.

"Silicon Valley East" Coming to Estonia?
----------------------------------------

8. (SBU) At a meeting with Minister of Economic Affairs and
Communications Juhan Parts (and former Prime Minister)
Ambassador Gross discussed common ICT priorities. Minister
Parts led Estonia's delegation to the June 17-18 OECD
Ministerial in Seoul, Korea on "The Future of the Internet
Economy". He concurred with the U.S. position that the
ITU's role in regulating global telecom networks should not
be broadened as some members would like to include law
enforcement functions or control over internet domains.
Minister Parts told us of a development that he has not
made public yet - the agreement during his April visit to
the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) in Silicon Valley
that SRI agreed to set up a branch office in Estonia. SRI
International is "...an independent, nonprofit research
institute conducting client-sponsored research and
development for government agencies, commercial businesses,
foundations, and other organizations". The office would
only be SRI's fifth outside the United States, and the
first in Europe. (Note: The other four branch offices are
in Taipei, Tokyo, Seoul and Dubai. End Note.) SRI will
prepare a White Paper outlining their vision for "Silicon
Valley East" (as Minister Parts put it,) and the Ministry
will follow with its own paper.

Business Outreach
-----------------

9. (U) In an interview with Estonia's second-largest daily
paper, Eesti Paevaleht, Ambassador Gross stressed U.S.
support for the Estonian CCD, and emphasized the importance
of international cooperation on ICT issues. He also
outlined USG efforts to protect individuals from cyber
crime and malware. Addressing a luncheon hosted by the
American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Estonia on the
global impact of Information and Communications Technology
(ICT) on business, Ambassador Gross noted the
transformative effect of the explosive growth in mobile
phone usage and technology in recent years. As with
companies at Tehnopol, participants were equally interested
in learning how to branch out to connect with expertise and
markets beyond the region, as with how to attract outside
investment capital.

10. (U) This cable was cleared by Ambassador Gross.

PHILLIPS

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