Sometime this month, the border guards of 10 Baltic countries will begin using Coastnet, a shared Internet-based database developed by Finnish programmers. According to the statement made to the Estonian BNS news agency by Matti Sandquist, the head of the Finnish border service, border guards will no longer have to send fax messages or use telephones to communicate with each other. The Coastnet database will be shared by the border guards of Germany, Denmark, Norway, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Finland, Sweden, and Estonia.
In the future, data from radars will be also entered into the system. Mr. Sandquist assured the new database was securely protected against unauthorised entries. Before any passwords are accepted by the database, they will have to be verified through a special server.
Swedish border guards are beginning preparatory work to establish radar observation over the whole Baltic Sea. The system is expected to go into operation by the year 2004. Harri Hein, the head of the Border Guards' Department of Estonia, said his country had already begun setting up a system of 20 coastal radar stations.