First up, we have commentary from NPR’s All Things Considered. Although NPR’s reporter Laura Sydell said the attacks couldn’t be pinned directly on the Chinese government just yet, she did get to speak directly to Google’s SVP David Drummond, who makes an appearance in this podcast. Sydell also spoke to Gregory Nojeim of the Center for Democracy and Technology and Jonathan Zittrain of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard, who discuss the involvement of authoritarian governments in online activities.
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Finally, from The World, we have this double-whammy tech podcast, the first half of which is a discussion of affairs in Haiti and the second half of which focuses on the topic of this week’s parade. If you skip to the 10:33 mark, you’ll hear Clark Boyd recapping the news and an in-depth report from veteran East Asia correspondent Mary Kay Magistad, who has covered news in this region for almost six years. She states that surfing the web right now in Beijing is like being in a different world now that Google has unblocked search terms and content, leaving China’s censors scrambling to keep up. The rest of her report is a fascinating mosaic of interviews and insight - a must-listen for those who would be informed and sound intelligent on the Google-China debacle.
In our second offering, Adam Segal, Ira A. Lipman Senior Fellow for Counterterrorism and National Security Studies for the Council for Foreign Relations, is interviewed about the situation and makes several interesting points.
As we’re all likely aware, this move on Google’s part comes at a tense moment in the U.S.-China relationship. "The Google decision also feeds into a broader sense of China as spoiler… I would suspect the next six months is going to be very bumpy."
Segal also sees the move as an indicator that the "world-wide" web is breaking apart. With various tools widely used in some parts of the world and abandoned in others (e.g., Orkut in Brazil or Friendster in Southeast Asia), can we really argue with him? But Segal sees further fragmentation of the Internet into almost entirely separate entities, one based in the Western world and one in the East.
Kai-Fu Lee, Vice-president of Engineering at Google, Inc. and President of Google Greater China.