Which country has the highest DQL?


And how do you increase DQL to REALLY live better?

At the beginning of 2019, Surfshark published the results of a research in 65 countries over Digital Quality of Life (DQL). The results are interesting, and even more will be the next ones.

Main (mostly unsuprising) results

The DQL score, whose maximum value is 1, is calculated looking at factors like broadband speed, broadband affordability, online censorship, privacy and data protection laws, and availability of digital content and online public services.

In general, “lower GDP/capita correlates with lower DQL score”. With some exceptions, two “highly institutional factors of the DQL index”, that is e-government services and cybersecurity level of the country also correlate with a country’s economic development. In 2019, the highest DQL was in Australia (0.79) and the lowest in Morocco (0.47). Italy came ninth, with a DQL of 0.73.

Since the highest DQL value is 80% of the maximum, and the median value is just 61%, there is “substantial room for improvement in digital quality of life across all the indexed countries”, even the most “digitally affluent” ones.

One of the surprises (their definition) in the report is the fact that:

Which country has the highest DQL? /img/mobile-speed-dql.jpg

“Japan and Italy, despite being among the top 10 highest-ranking countries in DQL, are only in the middle in terms of mobile speed [in the graph above], which suggests that improving their network capabilities or investing in innovative mobile technology might positively and notably influence their overall positions”.

The DQL index also shows that most of the countries look data protection-conscious, with 62 out of 65 having laws or drafts of laws in place [but] in some cases, this apparent commitment is “illusory”.

The most hilarious part

“Although the complexity of [data protection laws] was not accounted for in 2019 DQL index, the findings suggest there is room for improvement, especially in making these laws serve the citizens.”

Comments to this verbatim quote are left as exercise for the reader. And, possibly, for lawmakers.

The perfect DQL country of 2019

The most interesting part of the report is the sketch of the “perfect DQL country of 2019”, included in the DQL slideshow:

Which country has the highest DQL? /img/perfect-dql-country-2019.png

As you can see, such a country would first of all enjoy the broadband speed of Singapore, at Israel prices, and the mobile speed of Iceland, but as affordable as in Australia. Then, it would be as cybersecure as the UK and protect its citizen’s data like France. Finally, the perfect DQL country of 2019 would have had the e-government services of Denmark paired with the content availability of the US. It says something that the only title the US gets here is “Digital Disneyland”, doesn’t it?

Jokes aside, I really look forward to see what the same picture will look like, and why, in 2020, that is after COVID19.

A word on “mobile internet”, if I may

The research also confirmed that “mobile internet is of crucial importance in today’s world as it is much easier to install and scale, requires less investment, and can cover a larger population than broadband”.

As true as this is, let’s not forget how much mobile internet… as we have “done” it until today has done its share to threaten civic participation and decrease public rationality. If the goal is to increase Digital Quality of Life, then increasing mobile internet access where it is already present may not be the smartest move. Not at all.

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