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Orwell that ends well

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The online privacy debate has been shattered by revelations that the US is spying on everything people say, email and browse. This must be a conundrum for supporters of Wikileaks, who assert that everything anyone says or does should be open for all to see and hear, but these same people _ including founder Julian Assange _ get very angry as soon as people start looking into them. 

I've covered privacy before and it will be interesting to see how this all shakes out. It is worth mentioning that no country can be 100% open. At all levels there is always some information that needs to be kept away from others, even if it is just a surprise party. When it comes to national interests, it is other countries that are the usual focus. It could be an issue of trade negotiations, undercover drug agents or something to do with national security but despite what some groups would have you believe, having been on both sides, there can literally be lives at stake.

The basic rule of thumb for working on the internet is to assume that everything you do is potentially being looked at by someone. For the majority this is typically Google or Yahoo or someone else tracking your browsing habits so that they can send you targeted advertising. One unintended side effect of the latest spying revelations is that, according to Amazon's Movers and Shakers page, there has been a 9,538% rise in sales of George Orwell's novel 1984.

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