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Supreme Court Sends Bad Spaniels Back to Obedience School, Leaves Rogers Test Mostly Intact
June 9, 2023, 11:33 PM
The question of when you can use a trademark is one we see all the time—and one that is often misunderstood. Many of the world’s largest and most powerful companies are  fanatical about their trademarks. But that means the public is often in the dark about how their First Amendment rights stack up to the censoring power of trademark rights. All of this came to a head in a case about a dog toy.
The U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision Thursday in Jack Daniel’s Properties v. VIP Products, a...
China Must Release Program Think Blogger Ruan Xiaohuan, Champion of Free Expression Who Spoke Out Against Censorship and Oppression
June 9, 2023, 5:04 PM
As the Chinese government cracked down on online free expression over the last decade, blocking access to information, filtering content, surveilling users for social control, and unleashing malware disproportionately against its own people, there was one steady, anonymous voice on the internet speaking out against government censorship, calling for protests, and teaching netizens and activists how to protect themselves online.It was a blog called Program Think, and its author’s identity was n...
EFF and Allies Send Letters to Senate Judiciary Opposing Bill to Require Messaging Platforms to Report Users to the DEA
June 8, 2023, 8:07 PM
EFF, the ACLU, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers joined a coalition that sent two letters to the Senate Judiciary Committee to oppose S. 1080, the Cooper Davis Act. The letters point out the privacy, speech, and criminal justice problems with the bill.
The bill would require private messaging services, social media companies, and even cloud providers to report their users to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) if they find out about certain illegal drug sales.
Even with ...
Victory! New Jersey Court Rules Police Must Give Defendant the Facial Recognition Algorithms Used to Identify Him
June 8, 2023, 12:16 AM
In a victory for transparency in police use of facial recognition, a New Jersey appellate court today ruled that state prosecutors—who charged a man for armed robbery after the technology showed he was a “possible match” for the suspect—must turn over to the defendant detailed information about the face scanning software used, including how it works, source code, and its error rate.Calling facial recognition “a novel and untested technology,” the court in State of New Jersey v. Franc...
To Save the News, We Must Open Up App Stores
June 6, 2023, 1:22 PM
This is part four of an ongoing, five-part series. Part one, the introduction, is here. Part two, about breaking up ad-tech companies, is here. Part three, about banning surveillance ads, is here.
When Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad in 2010, he didn’t just usher in a new kind of computing device - the first mainstream touchscreen tablet - he also promised a new model for internet-based publishing: paid subscriptions.
Jobs railed against the world of advertising-supported web publishing, correctl...
Digital Rights Updates with EFFector 35.7
June 2, 2023, 4:33 PM
Catch up on the latest news in the digital rights movement with our EFFector newsletter! Our latest issue is out now, and it is jam packed with updates, from decisions made by the Supreme court on Section 230 and fair use cases, to EFF's investigation into California police agencies sharing drivers' location data with law enforcement agencies in other states. You can read the full newsletter here, or listen to the audio version below!
Listen on YouTube
EFFector 35.7 - EFF at RightsCon 2023
Make ...
Our Right To Challenge Junk Patents Is Under Threat
June 2, 2023, 3:13 PM
The U.S. Patent Office has proposed new rules about who can challenge wrongly granted patents. If the rules become official, they will offer new protections to patent trolls. Challenging patents will become far more onerous, and impossible for some. The new rules could stop organizations like EFF, which used this process to fight the Personal Audio “podcasting patent,” from filing patent challenges altogether. 
If you have a personal experience with patent troll attacks, please mention it. ...
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Has Made a Mockery of the Constitutional Right to Privacy
June 1, 2023, 10:09 PM
The latest evidence that Section 702 of the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Act (FISA) must be ended or drastically reformed came last month in the form of a newly unsealed order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) detailing massive violations of Americans’ privacy by the FBI.
The FISC order is replete with problems. It describes the government’s repeated, widespread violations—over a seven-year period—of procedures for searching its databases of internet communicat...
The Right to Repair Is Law in Minnesota. California Should Be Next
May 31, 2023, 8:43 PM
Last week, Minnesota governor Tim Walz signed an omnibus bill that includes a comprehensive right to repair law requiring manufacturers to make spare parts, repair information, and tools available to consumers and repair shops. This law builds on smaller, but still significant, wins in Colorado, Massachusetts, and New York. California could be next. "The Right to Repair" Act (S.B. 244), just passed the California Senate and is on its way to the State Assembly.
The right to repair movement has a ...
Federal Judge Makes History in Holding That Border Searches of Cell Phones Require a Warrant
May 30, 2023, 7:57 PM
With United States v. Smith (S.D.N.Y. May 11, 2023), a district court judge in New York made history by being the first court to rule that a warrant is required for a cell phone search at the border, “absent exigent circumstances” (although other district courts have wanted to do so).
EFF is thrilled about this decision, given that we have been advocating for a warrant for border searches of electronic devices in the courts and Congress for nearly a decade. If the case is appealed to the Sec...
EU’s Proposed Cyber Resilience Act Raises Concerns for Open Source and Cybersecurity
May 30, 2023, 5:16 PM
The EU is in the middle of the amendments process for its proposed Cyber Resilience Act (CRA), a law intended to bolster Europe’s defenses against cyber-attacks and improve product security. This law targets a broad swath of products brought to market intended for European consumers, including Internet of Things (IoT) devices, desktop computers, and smartphones. It places requirements on device manufacturers and distributors with regards to vulnerability disclosure, and introduces new liabilit...
To Save the News, We Must Ban Surveillance Advertising
May 30, 2023, 11:20 AM
This is part three of an ongoing, five-part series. Part one, the introduction, is here. Part two, about breaking up ad-tech companies, is here. Part four, about opening up app stores, is here.
The ad-tech industry is incredibly profitable, raking in hundreds of billions of dollars every year by spying on us. These companies have tendrils that reach into our apps, our televisions, and our cars, as well as most websites. Their hunger for our data is insatiable. Worse still, a whole secondary indu...
Podcast Episode: Who Inserted the Creepy?
May 30, 2023, 7:01 AM
Writers sit watching a stranger’s search engine terms being typed in real time, a voyeuristic peek into that person’s most private thoughts. A woman lands a dream job at a powerful tech company but uncovers an agenda affecting the lives of all of humanity. An app developer keeps pitching the craziest, most harmful ideas she can imagine but the tech mega-monopoly she works for keeps adopting them, to worldwide delight.  

Californians: Speak Up To Protect People Seeking Repro and Gender-Affirming Care
May 26, 2023, 10:05 PM
We need your help to advance A.B. 793, a bill authored by Assemblymember Mia Bonta to protect people seeking abortion and gender-affirming care from dragnet-style digital surveillance. It's facing law enforcement opposition as it heads to the Assembly floor for a vote. California's Assemblymembers need to hear from you to stand up for what's right.
Tell Your Assemblymember to Support aB 793
EFF is a proud co-sponsor of A.B. 793, which targets law enforcement demands that can compel t...
EFF at RightsCon 2023
May 26, 2023, 11:53 AM
After three years of virtual gatherings, RightsCon is back! The 12th edition of the world’s leading summit on human rights in the digital age will be a hybrid convening taking place online through the RightsCon platform and in San José, Costa Rica between June 5-8.
RightsCon provides an opportunity for human rights experts, technologists, government representatives, and activists to discuss pressing human rights challenges and their potential solutions. 
We’re excited that many EFFers are ...
Victory in California! Police Instructors Can’t Claim Copyright Protections to Block Release of Use-of-Force and Other Training Materials
May 25, 2023, 8:30 PM
After a two-year legal battle, the state agency that certifies police officers in California has agreed to EFF's demand that it stop using copyright concerns as a predicate to withhold law enforcement training materials from public scrutiny.
The immediate impact of this victory for transparency is the public will be able to visit the California Commission on Peace Officers Standards &amp; Training (POST) website to inspect 19 previously unseen training outlines. These documents cover a variety ...
Civil Liberties Groups Demand California Police Stop Sharing Drivers’ Location Data With Police In Anti-Abortion States
May 25, 2023, 4:30 PM
This sharing by 71 CA police agencies violates state law and could be used by other states to identify and prosecute abortion seekers and providers.SAN FRANCISCO—Seventy-one California police agencies in 22 counties must immediately stop sharing automated license plate reader (ALPR) data with law enforcement agencies in other states because it violates California law and could enable prosecution of abortion seekers and providers elsewhere, three civil liberties groups demanded Thursday in lett...
Congress Must Exercise Caution in AI Regulation
May 24, 2023, 6:16 PM
Artificial intelligence technologies (AI) are all the rage in Washington D.C. these days. Policymakers are hearing stories of utopian opportunities and certain doom from technologists, CEOs, and public interest groups and trying to figure out when and how Congress should intervene.
Congress should be paying attention to AI technologies. Many are tools with extraordinary potential. They can help users distill large volumes of information, manage numerous tasks more efficiently, and change how we ...
To Save the News, We Must Shatter Ad-Tech
May 24, 2023, 12:02 PM
This is part two of an ongoing, five-part series. Part one, the introduction, is here. Part three, about banning surveillance ads, is here. Part four, about opening up app stores, is here.
The news is in trouble. It’s not just the mass closures of newsrooms - it’s also the physical and ideological attacks on journalists.News websites are plastered with ads, but more than half of the money those ads generate is siphoned off by ad-tech companies, with the lion’s share going to just two compa...
How Do Different Encrypted Messaging Apps Treat Deleted Messages?
May 23, 2023, 9:32 PM
A feature of various end-to-end encrypted (E2EE) messaging apps and other non E2EE social media messaging are disappearing messages, which automatically delete after a set period of time. This feature may be useful for general privacy within your extended network, high-risk users, and preemptively clearing side conversations easily within linear chats. However, different messaging apps handle deleted and disappearing messages a little differently, in particular when it comes to quoted messages, ...
What the Supreme Court’s Decision in Warhol Means for Fair Use
May 23, 2023, 4:42 PM
The Supreme Court has issued its long-awaited decision in Andy Warhol Foundation v. Goldsmith, a fair use case that raised fundamental questions about rights and obligations of commercial artists. The Court’s opinion did not answer many of those questions, but happily it affirmed both important fair use precedents and the role of fair use as a crucial element of the copyright system. EFF filed an amicus brief in the case.
These are the basic facts: In 1981, Newsweek commissioned Lynn Goldsmith...
SFPD Obtained Live Access to Business Camera Network in Anticipation of Tyre Nichols Protest
May 23, 2023, 1:02 PM
New documents EFF received through public records requests have revealed that the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) received live access to the hundreds of surveillance cameras that comprise the Union Square Business Improvement District’s (USBID) camera network in anticipation of potential protests following the police killing of Tyre Nichols in Memphis, Tennessee. The protests were impassioned and peaceful as Bay Area residents gathered to oppose police violence–and the SFPD proactive...
Newly Public FISC Opinion is The Best Evidence For Why Congress Must End Section 702
May 22, 2023, 11:33 PM
A surveillance court order unsealed last week that details massive violations of Americans’ privacy by the FBI underscores why Congress must end or radically change the unconstitutional spying program enabled by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
The opinion recounts how for years the FBI illegally accessed a database containing communications obtained under Section 702 and other FISA authorities more than 278,000 times, including searching for communications of ...
EFF to Court: California’s Public Records Law Must Remain a Check on Police Use of Drones
May 22, 2023, 9:13 PM
An increasing number of cities are adding drone flights to their law enforcement tool kit. Public access to appropriately redacted video footage from those flights can provide oversight of police surveillance and help ensure cities are living up to their privacy promises.
Every second of every drone video should not be categorically exempt from public records laws as an investigatory record. This is the argument of an amicus letter filed in California state court last week by EFF, the First Amen...
From Past Lessons to Future Protections: EFF's Advice to the EU Commission on Extended Reality Governance
May 22, 2023, 5:54 PM
EFF, in partnership with Access Now and the European Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ECNL), has responded to the European Commission's consultation, "Virtual Worlds (Metaverses) – A Vision for Openness, Safety, and Respect." This follows our joint statement on International Human Rights Day in 2021, "Virtual Worlds, Real People: Human Rights in the Metaverse," which called for governments and corporations to uphold human rights within Extended Reality (XR), which include Virtual Reality (VR) an...
10 Years After Snowden: Some Things Are Better, Some We’re Still Fighting For
May 19, 2023, 4:39 PM
On May 20, 2013, a young government contractor with an EFF sticker on his laptop disembarked a plane in Hong Kong carrying with him evidence confirming, among other things, that the United States government had been conducting mass surveillance on a global scale. What came next were weeks of disclosures—and official declassifications—as Edward Snowden worked with some of the world’s top news organizations to reveal critical facts about the National Security Agency vacuuming up people’s o...
States Should Not Skirt Federal Rules on Fiber Infrastructure
May 19, 2023, 3:40 PM
Across the country, states are designing broadband plans to begin spending billions of federal dollars made available by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and past COVID-19 rescue dollar investment programs. The Biden administration has consistently made clear that states are to build future-proof infrastructure to deliver broadband that will be useful for communities for decades. This is arguably one of the best changes in federal policy for broadband subsidies ever. Past federa...
The Internet Dodges Censorship by the Supreme Court
May 19, 2023, 12:26 AM
The Supreme Court today refused to weaken one of the key laws supporting free expression online, and recognized that digital platforms are not usually liable for their users’ illegal acts, ensuring that everyone can continue to use those services to speak and organize.
The decisions in Gonzalez v. Google and Twitter v. Taamneh are great news for a free and vibrant internet, which inevitably depends on services that host our speech. The court in Gonzalez declined to address the scope of 47 U.S....
Support the "My Body, My Data" Act
May 18, 2023, 7:08 PM
EFF supports Rep. Sara Jacobs’ “My Body, My Data" Act, which will protect the privacy and safety of people seeking reproductive health care. The bill was reintroduced this week.
Privacy fears should never stand in the way of healthcare. That's why this common-sense bill will require businesses and non-governmental organizations to act responsibly with personal information concerning reproductive health care. Specifically, it restricts them from collecting, using, retaining, or disclosing rep...
Victory! Apple and Google Collaborate on Detecting Unwanted Location Trackers
May 18, 2023, 5:36 PM
Location trackers like Tiles and AirTags aren’t just a helpful way to find missing luggage or a misplaced wallet—they can also be easily slipped into a bag or car, allowing stalkers and abusers unprecedented access to a person’s location without their knowledge. That’s why we are enthusiastic about the effort between Apple and Google to release a draft specification on a detection protocol for these devices. We have been calling for an industry-wide standard for detection of this transie...
How to Enable Advanced Data Protection on iOS, and Why You Should
May 17, 2023, 10:01 PM
Apple has long used end-to-end encryption for some of the information on your iPhone, like passwords or health data, but the company neglected to offer a way to better protect other crucial data, including iCloud backups, until recently. This came after years of a hard fought battle pushing Apple to encrypt backups and drop its plans for client-side scanning. With Advanced Data Protection, that additional security is now an option, but you have to turn it on yourself. This is a big win for user ...
Saving the News From Big Tech
May 17, 2023, 7:05 PM
Media is in crisis: newsrooms all over the world are shuttering and the very profession of journalism is under sustained ideological and physical assault. Freedom of the press is a hollow doctrine if the only news media is written or published by independently wealthy individuals who don’t need to get paid for their labor.
Where did the media’s money go? It’s complicated.
How News Companies Shot Themselves in the Face
Let’s start with the news outlets themselves. Right around the time th...
Don't Mess With Texas' Anti-SLAPP Law
May 17, 2023, 5:06 PM
Update 6/1/23: After overwhelming opposition, this bill did not get a floor vote before the Texas Legislature adjourned on 5/31/23. Thank you to EFF supporters, and all supporters of free speech and strong anti-SLAPP, for this victory.  
Update 5/18/23: News reports indicate that this bill's language has also been added to a separate bill, Texas House Bill 3129. Texas lawmakers should vote no. 
Over the past few decades, we’ve seen the rise of civil lawsuits that are meant to harass and...
Podcast Episode: People With Disabilities Are The Original Hackers
May 16, 2023, 7:01 AM
People with disabilities were the original hackers. The world can feel closed to them, so they often have had to be self-reliant in how they interact with society. And that creativity and ingenuity is an unappreciated resource.
Digital Rights Updates with EFFector 35.6
May 15, 2023, 5:07 PM
Hey, look! The latest issue of our EFFector newsletter is out! Catch up on the latest digital civil liberties news, from our fights against dangerous anti-encryption and anti-speech bills, to some good news about fair use and security research tools. Click here to read the full newsletter, or you can listen to the audio version below!
Listen on YouTube
EFFector 35.6 - How to Control Speech and Break Encryption, In Three Acts
Make sure you never miss an issue by signing up by email to receive EFF...
Eight Years Holding ISPs to Account in Latin America: A Comparative Outlook of Victories and Challenges for User Privacy
May 12, 2023, 6:00 PM
Latin American and Spanish telecommunications companies have made important advances in their privacy policies and practices, but persistent gaps and worrying trends pose potential risks for internet and mobile phone users, according to a new consolidated report published today by EFF. The report is based on the analyses and assessment of industry practices by EFF partners over the last eight years to shed light on telecom and Internet service providers’ (ISPs) commitments to users’ privacy,...
The Law Should Not Require Parental Consent for All Minors to Access Social Media
May 12, 2023, 5:59 PM
Numerous state laws passed this year, and bills proposed in Congress, would set onerous new restrictions on what young people can do online, depriving teenagers of their First Amendment rights to express themselves, access protected speech, engage in anonymous speech, and participate in online communities. They also enforce a presumption that parents of minors do not want them accessing social media. These laws would require people under a certain age, usually 18, to obtain parental consent befo...
The UK Online Safety Bill Must Not Violate Our Rights to Free Speech And Private Communication
May 12, 2023, 4:50 PM
As the UK’s Online Safety Bill moves through negotiations in the House of Lords, EFF, Open Rights Group, Wikimedia UK, and Index on Censorship have submitted a briefing urging the Lords to uphold the right to private messaging, and protect against prior restraint of lawful speech.
Clause 110 of the bill requires websites and apps to proactively prevent harmful content from appearing on messaging services. This will mandate the screening of all user content, all the time. It’s not compatible ...
Dressed to Judge: EFF's 7th Annual Tech Trivia Night
May 12, 2023, 7:00 AM
EFF intern Reema Moussa contributed to this blog post.
Every year the Cybertiger stalks his prey: pressing nerds everywhere with the most obscure, fascinating, minutiae of tech-related questions to quiz digital freedom supporters on their tech know-how. Who will come out on top, he wonders? Well, we found out last week, on Thursday, April 27 for EFF’s 7th Annual Tech Trivia Night!
Thankfully, this year, the Cybertiger (EFF’s one and only Cooper Quintin, Senior Staff Technologist) wasn’t th...
Neighborhood Watch Out: Cops Are Incorporating Private Cameras Into Their Real-Time Surveillance Networks
May 11, 2023, 9:00 AM
Police have their sights set on every surveillance camera in every business, on every porch, in all the cities and counties of the country. Grocery store trips, walks down the street, and otherwise minding your own business when outside your home could soon come under the ever-present eye of the government. In a quiet but rapid expansion of law enforcement surveillance, U.S. cities are buying and promoting products from Georgia-based company Fusus in order to access on-demand, live video from pu...
The STOP CSAM Act: Improved But Still Problematic
May 11, 2023, 2:02 AM
Last month, we expressed concerns about how the STOP CSAM Act threatens encrypted communications and free speech online. New amendments to the bill have some improvements, but our concerns remain. 
The STOP CSAM Act Should Not Use the EARN IT Act as a Template for How to Protect Encryption 
The amendments to the STOP CSAM Act make the bill similar to the EARN IT Act, which is to say, still highly dangerous for encryption. 
In their curre...
Android TV Boxes Sold on Amazon Come Pre-Loaded with Malware
May 10, 2023, 11:57 PM
Certain Android TV Box models from manufacturers AllWinner and RockChip, available for purchase on Amazon, come pre-loaded with malware from the BianLian family, a variant of which we investigated last year. The malware, discovered by security researcher Daniel Milisic, adds your smart set-top box to a botnet for initiating coordinated attacks. Affected models include the AllWinner T95, AllWinner T95Max, RockChip X12-Plus, and RockChip X88-Pro-10.
By looking at the traffic being sent by these d...
Federal Appeals Court Gets It: Fair Use Protects Security Research Tools
May 10, 2023, 10:47 PM
In a refreshingly direct opinion, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that creating and selling virtualization software for security research is a fair use. Along the way, it provides a kind of master class in applying copyright’s fair use doctrine to functional works like computer programs.
Here’s how the case came about: Corellium, the defendant, created a software platform that simulates an iPhone, allowing developers and researchers to test Apple’s iOS operating system for...
Dangerous EARN IT Bill Advances Out of Committee, but Several Senators Offer Objections
May 10, 2023, 6:25 PM
Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted, for a third time, to advance the dangerous EARN IT bill (S. 1207)—a law that could lead to suspicionless scans of every online message, photo, and hosted file.
In the name of fighting crime, the EARN IT Act treats all internet users like we should be in a permanent criminal lineup, under suspicion for child abuse. If enacted, EARN IT will put massive legal pressure on internet companies both large and small to stop using true end-to-end encrypti...
Science Rebels Take on Major Publishers
May 10, 2023, 6:00 PM
Over 40 leading scientists have resigned from the prestigious journal Neuroimage last month, protesting an inequitable publishing model built on gatekeeping and false scarcity.
Academic publishing is fundamental to the advancement of modern science. It facilitates expert collaboration and testing, ideally leading to new innovation, including life-saving medical research. Too often, however, cutting edge research is trapped behind paywalls, effectively inaccessible to the people and institutions ...
Court Accepts EFF’s Amicus Brief on the Right to Publish Code in Tornado Cash Case
May 10, 2023, 5:32 PM
Protecting the First Amendment rights of coders to develop and publish code is a core EFF value. It’s also one where we’ve played a central role in developing the law. So, we were happy that the court in the Tornado Cash lawsuit dismissed a government objection and accepted our amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs.The case, Van Loon v Department of Treasury, arises from the U.S. Treasury Department’s decision to put Tornado Cash, an open-source project, on its specially designed natio...
As Platforms Decay, Let’s Put Users First
May 9, 2023, 4:47 PM
The net’s long decline into “five giant websites, each filled with screenshots of the other four” isn’t a mystery. Nor was it by any means a forgone conclusion. Instead, we got here through a series of conscious actions by big businesses and lawmakers that put antitrust law into a 40-year coma. Well, now antitrust is rising from its slumber and we have work for it to do.
As regulators and lawmakers think about making the internet a better place for human beings,their top priority should ...
Suit by Renowned Saudi Human Rights Activist Details Harms Caused by Export of U.S. Cybersurveillance Technology and Training to Repressive Regimes
May 8, 2023, 11:15 PM
“Companies that employ spyware on behalf of oppressive governments must be held accountable for the resulting human rights abuses.”PORTLAND, OR — The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the Center for Justice &amp; Accountability (CJA), and Foley Hoag LLP on Monday filed an amended complaint with the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon on behalf of renowned Saudi human rights activist Loujain Alhathloul against three former members of the U.S. national security establishment a...
The Kids Online Safety Act is Still A Huge Danger to Our Rights Online
May 2, 2023, 11:45 PM
Congress has resurrected the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA), a bill that would increase surveillance and restrict access to information in the name of protecting children online. KOSA was introduced in 2022 but failed to gain traction, and today its authors, Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), have reintroduced it with slight modifications. Though some of these changes were made in response to over 100 civil society organizations and LGBTQ+ rights groups’ criticisms of ...
Why Is the U.S. Solicitor General Trying To Change The Law To Benefit Patent Trolls?
May 2, 2023, 8:05 PM
For more than two decades now, developers and users of software have been plagued by a flood of bad patents. Software patents that describe everyday practices like watching an ad online, publishing nutrition information, meeting people nearby, or teaching a language class continue to be issued, and low-quality patents get used in hundreds of lawsuits every year. 
Government officials should be working to reduce, not increase, the burden that low-quality patent lawsuits impose on innovators. So ...

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