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On the security of international data exchange services for e-governance systems

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The effects of globalisation and information welfare combined with the increasing mobility of individuals lead to a number of challenges to modern states. In order to guarantee a smooth, secure, uninterrupted organisational flow, governments and their subsidiaries need to cooperate and exchange data on individuals and organisations across national borders. However, insufficiently secured communication of such data imposes security threats which may endanger the individual’s privacy. Currently, several states within Europe develop and operate e-governance systems. These are primarily designed to allow the exchange of data within the institutions of one state. However, examples such as the Estonian e-governance backbone system X-Road strive towards an EU-wide expansion. Technical solutions for the transnational exchange of data between governmental institutions are an unavoidable part of the future of cyberspace. Despite the fact that EU specifications exist, the discrepancy between specification and implementation becomes immanent. This article explores some of the general aspects of the design of secure transnational data exchange frameworks. A comparative analysis of existing e-governance systems within Europe is given based on defined security aspects. It is explored how decisions made in the design may affect the security of the underlying network and its components. The challenges of transnational data exchange frameworks are discussed.

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Correspondence to Kim Hartmann.

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Kim Hartmann specialised in computer security and mathematical modelling. Research on: Protocol analysis, secure network design principles, risk assessment and analysis of critical network infrastructures.

Christoph Steup researcher at the Otto-von-Guericke University in Magdeburg. His research interests include safety and security of Distributed Event-based Systems and Wireless Sensor Networks.

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Hartmann, K., Steup, C. On the security of international data exchange services for e-governance systems. Datenschutz Datensich 39, 472–476 (2015).

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