Week In News: Google And China Make Up
LYNN NEARY, Host:
Welcome, Jim. So good to have you and good to talk to you again.
JAMES FALLOWS: Nice to talk with you and welcome back to your show.
(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)
NEARY: Now, I know that you have a special love for all things Google and China. And there was news on both fronts this week with China renewing Google's license to operate in that country. So how big a deal is this?
FALLOWS: And the news was the Chinese government said, okay, you know, we think this is sufficient and you can go ahead. It's good, I think, for users in China. They can still take advantage of this service and it suggests that the Chinese government was not ready to go sort of to the next step of a lot of showdown with western information sources and western values and all the rest.
NEARY: And what does this mean in terms of Chinese censorship of search results?
FALLOWS: Most other users in China who don't want to go to that bother still will have censored search results. The difference as a matter of principle is that now the Chinese government is doing it, but it still holds great firewall as Google's results come in from its servers in Hong Kong rather than Google itself doing the censoring as it has been doing before at Chinese request from its servers inside China.
NEARY: So, Jim, I think I should mention that usually when we do these chats, you're in Washington. But this week, you're in Aspen, Colorado, where you're attending the Aspen Ideas Festival, which is co-sponsored by The Atlantic. The point of the festival is - or at least part of it - is to explore issues in the news, and, of course, the BP oil spill is still very much in the news. So has there been any discussion about that?
FALLOWS: And when showing their own wells, I said, okay, here is level one, a redundant safety feature and here's level two and here's level eight and here's level 12. And then they show the comparative well that has had this disaster with many, many few of the safety features. And the contrast in these two well designs was quite striking, and I'm surprised, as a consumer of news, I haven't seen more places and I hope actually I will soon.
NEARY: And also I hear that, on another story, an official from the United Arab Emirates attending the festival made some surprising remarks about Iran. What was that all about?
FALLOWS: It was dramatic both in showing the complexity of the decision that the U.S. faces on the Iranian situation and also how rare it is to hear a diplomat speaking undiplomatically.
NEARY: Jim, thanks so much. Great talking with you.
FALLOWS: My pleasure. Thanks very much, Lynn.
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