Travel Blog • Ben Keene • 07.21.06 | 7:43 PM ET
Coordinates: 59 22 N 24 48 E
Population: 401,502 (2005 est.)
Novel as it may seem, some places in the world are actually attempting to make their governments more efficient and their societies more open. Across the Gulf of Finland, not quite fifty miles from Helsinki, the Estonian cabinet conducts its paperless meetings entirely online in the capital city of Tallinn. Nearly four times larger than the country’s next biggest city, Tallinn is the center of an electronic society as well as an e-government. Internet access is considered a constitutional right and throughout the city blue traffic signs with the @ symbol direct citizens to hundreds of free Public Internet Access Points (PIAPs). Every school, along with 82 percent of home computers, is connected to the web, supporting the results of a recent survey showing that over half of the population uses the Internet nationwide.