Feeds

Long lunching Luddites show world how to do IT

Vive La France!

Top three mobile application threats

Column Last week, a report emerged with one of the most unlikely conclusions in the short history of digital policy. The report was built around yet another ranking of the technological performance of different countries around the world.

Its main finding was this: "France, which spends a substantial one per cent of GDP on government R&D, takes first place.”

You might want to read that again.

Or to put it another way: "France, the country that the information society prophets and competitiveness gurus have long considered to be a complete basket-case, takes first place."

In 2005, France, the country with the sixth largest economy in the world, was lingering in 22nd place in the World Economic Forum's "network-readiness" rankings. In 2006, they dropped a place.

The Economist Intelligence Unit's global "e-readiness" rankings have only marginally better news for the French, putting them in 19th place.

Within the European Union, France is considered even more of an embarrassment. European Commission officials despair about a people who seem bizarrely more interested in wandering down to their local shops to buy whatever's on offer, than feverishly purchasing things online like the British now do.

On any index of national competitiveness, high-tech up-for-it-ness, e-this or i-that, France sits there, like the fat kid on sports day, being overtaken by both the new kids from Eastern Europe who desperately want to impress, and the heroic athletes of North America, Scandinavia, and the far East, who pride themselves on leading the pack.

Value judgements

So what of this latest index? Well, here's the rub. The index comes from a less well-known source, a US think tank called The Centre for Global Development.

The technology index is just one component of a wider Commitment to Global Development index, that ranks countries in terms of how their actions benefit developing countries.

As the report explains: "The Technology Index rewards polices that support the creation and dissemination of innovations of value to developing countries. It rewards government subsidies for research and development, whether delivered through spending or tax breaks."

It also penalises countries such as the US, who it considers to be promoting intellectual property practices which restrict the flow of benefits to developing countries.

It is worth stressing that all international rankings should be treated with a bit of suspicion. They are primarily developed to be eye-catching and to shame countries that don't appear to be playing ball.

It would be somewhat hypocritical if the French were to offer a Gallic shrug in the face of the endless criticism offered by the digital advocates, but then to suddenly shout about this latest scoreboard from the rooftops.

But nevertheless, policymakers might want to reflect on a few implications of this.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.