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Date: Fri, 23 Feb 2024 14:41:11 +0000
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As India Prepares for Elections, Government Silences Critics on X with Executive Order
February 23, 2024, 11:55 AM
It is troubling to see that the Indian government has issued new demands to X (formerly Twitter) to remove accounts and posts critical of the government and its recent actions. This is especially bears watching as India is preparing for general elections this spring, and concerns for the government’s manipulation of social media critical of it grows.
On Wednesday, X’s Global Government Affairs account (@GlobalAffairs) tweeted:
The Indian government has issued executive orders requiring X to ...
Is the Justice Department Even Following Its Own Policy in Cybercrime Prosecution of a Journalist?
February 23, 2024, 12:38 AM
Following an FBI raid of his home last year, the freelance journalist Tim Burke has been arrested and indicted in connection with an investigation into leaks of unaired footage from Fox News. The raid raised questions about whether Burke was being investigated for First Amendment-protected journalistic activities, and EFF joined a letter calling on the Justice Department to explain whether and how it believed Burke had actually engaged in wrongdoing. Although the government has now charged Burke...
NSA Spying Shirts Are Back Just In Time to Tell Congress to Reform Section 702
February 22, 2024, 6:43 PM
We’ve been challenging the National Security Agency's mass surveillance of ordinary people since we first became aware of it nearly twenty years ago. Since then, tens of thousands of supporters have joined the call to fight what became Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, a law which was supposed to enable overseas surveillance of specific targets, but has become a backdoor way of mass spying on the communications of people in the U.S. Now, Section 702 is back up for a major renewal since i...
Unregulated, Exploitative, and on the Rise: Vera Institute's Report on Electronic Monitoring
February 21, 2024, 9:04 PM
Incarceration rates in the United States have long been among the highest in the world, and in response to the systemic flaws and biases unveiled by the renewed scrutiny of the criminal legal system, many advocates have championed new policies aimed at reducing sentences and improving conditions in prisons. Some have touted the use of electronic monitoring (EM) as an alternative fix to ensure that people whose cases have yet to be adjudicated are not physically detained. Unsurprisingly, those mo...
Defending Access to the Decentralized Web
February 20, 2024, 7:51 PM
Decentralized web technologies have the potential to make the internet more robust and efficient, supporting a new wave of innovation. However, the fundamental technologies and services that make it work are already being hit with overreaching legal threats.
Exhibit A: the Interplanetary File System (IPFS). IPFS operates via a “distributed hash table,” essentially a way to look up the number (or “hash”) corresponding to a given file and see which network locations have chosen to offer th...
Don’t Fall for the Latest Changes to the Dangerous Kids Online Safety Act
February 15, 2024, 10:27 PM
The authors of the dangerous Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA) unveiled an amended version this week, but it’s still an unconstitutional censorship bill that continues to empower state officials to target services and online content they do not like. We are asking everyone reading this to oppose this latest version, and to demand that their representatives oppose it—even if you have already done so. 
KOSA remains a dangerous bill tha...
Hip Hip Hooray For Hipster Antitrust
February 14, 2024, 11:58 PM
Don’t believe the hype.
The undeniable fact is that the FTC has racked up a long list of victories over corporate abuses, like busting a nationwide, decades-long fraud that tricked people into paying for “free” tax preparation.
The wheels of justice grind slowly, so many of the actions the FTC has brought are still pending. But these actions are significant. In tandem with the Department of Justice, it is suing over fake apartment listings, blocking noncompete clauses, targeting fake onlin...
EFF to Court: Strike Down Age Estimation in California But Not Consumer Privacy
February 14, 2024, 11:44 PM
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) called on the Ninth Circuit to rule that California’s Age Appropriate Design Code (AADC) violates the First Amendment, while not casting doubt on well-written data privacy laws. EFF filed an amicus brief in the case NetChoice v. Bonta, along with the Center for Democracy &amp; Technology.
A lower court already ruled the law is likely unconstitutional. EFF agrees, but we asked the appeals court to chart a narrower path. EFF argued the AADC’s age estima...
Privacy Isn't Dead. Far From It.
February 14, 2024, 12:07 AM
The fact that you’re reading this means that you probably care deeply about the issue of privacy, which warms our hearts. Unfortunately, even though you care about privacy, or perhaps because you care so much about it, you may feel that there's not much you (or anyone) can really do to protect it, no matter how hard you try. Perhaps you think “privacy is dead.” 
We’ve all probably felt a little bit like you do at one time or another. At its worst, this feeling might be descri...
Voting Against the Surveillance State | EFFector 36.2
February 12, 2024, 6:48 PM
EFF is here to keep you up-to-date with the latest news about your digital rights! EFFector 36.2 is out now and covers a ton of the latest news, including: a victory, as Amazon's Ring will no longer facilitate warrantless footage requests from police; an analysis on Apple's announcement to support RCS on iPhones; and a call for San Francisco voters to vote no on Proposition E on the March 5, 2024 ballot.
You can read the full newsletter here, or subscribe to get the next issue in your inbox auto...
EFF Helps News Organizations Push Back Against Legal Bullying from Cyber Mercenary Group
February 8, 2024, 11:47 PM
Cyber mercenaries present a grave threat to human rights and freedom of expression. They have been implicated in surveillance, torture, and even murder of human rights defenders, political candidates, and journalists. One of the most effective ways that the human rights community pushes back against the threat of targeted surveillance and cyber mercenaries is to investigate and expose these companies and their owners and customers. 
But for the last several months, there has emerged a campaign ...
Protect Good Faith Security Research Globally in Proposed UN Cybercrime Treaty
February 7, 2024, 3:57 PM
Statement submitted to the UN Ad Hoc Committee Secretariat by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, accredited under operative paragraph No. 9 of UN General Assembly Resolution 75/282, on behalf of 124 signatories.
We, the undersigned, representing a broad spectrum of the global security research community, write to express our serious concerns about the UN Cybercrime Treaty drafts released during the sixth session and the most recent one. These drafts pose substantial risks to global cybersecur...
Draft UN Cybercrime Treaty Could Make Security Research a Crime, Leading 124 Experts to Call on UN Delegates to Fix Flawed Provisions that Weaken Everyone’s Security
February 7, 2024, 3:56 PM
Security researchers’ work discovering and reporting vulnerabilities in software, firmware,  networks, and devices protects people, businesses and governments around the world from malware, theft of  critical data, and other cyberattacks. The internet and the digital ecosystem are safer because of their work.The UN Cybercrime Treaty, which is in the final stages of drafting in New York this week, risks criminalizing this vitally important work. This is appalling and wrong, and must be fixed....
What is Proposition E and Why Should San Francisco Voters Oppose It?
February 2, 2024, 11:39 PM
If you live in San Francisco, there is an election on March 5, 2024 during which voters will decide a number of specific local ballot measures—including Proposition E. Proponents of Proposition E have raised over $1 million …but what does the measure actually do? This will break down what the initiative actually does, why it is dangerous for San Franciscans, and why you should oppose it.
What Does Proposition E Do?
Proposition E is a “kitchen sink" approach to public safety that capitali...
San Francisco Police’s Live Surveillance Yields Almost 200 Hours of Spying–Including of Music Festivals
February 2, 2024, 9:21 PM
A new report reveals that in just three months, from July 1 to September 30, 2023,  the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) racked up 193 hours and 19 minutes of live access to non-city surveillance cameras. That means for the equivalent of 8 days, police sat behind a desk and tapped into hundreds of cameras, ostensibly including San Francisco’s extensive semi-private security camera networks, to watch city residents, workers, and visitors live. An article by the San Francisco Chronicle an...
Worried About AI Voice Clone Scams? Create a Family Password
February 1, 2024, 12:42 AM
Your grandfather receives a call late at night from a person pretending to be you. The caller says that you are in jail or have been kidnapped and that they need money urgently to get you out of trouble. Perhaps they then bring on a fake police officer or kidnapper to heighten the tension. The money, of course, should be wired right away to an unfamiliar account at an unfamiliar bank. 
It’s a classic and common scam, and like many scams it relies on a scary, urgent scenario to override the v...
What Apple's Promise to Support RCS Means for Text Messaging
January 31, 2024, 9:51 PM
You may have heard recently that Apple is planning to implement Rich Communication Services (RCS) on iPhones, once again igniting the green versus blue bubble debate. RCS will thankfully bring a number of long-missing features to those green bubble conversations in Messages, but Apple's proposed implementation has a murkier future when it comes to security. 
The RCS standard will replace SMS, the protocol behind basic everyday text messages, and MMS, the protocol for sending pictures in text m...
Dozens of Rogue California Police Agencies Still Sharing Driver Locations with Anti-Abortion States
January 31, 2024, 7:56 PM
Civil Liberties Groups Urge Attorney General Bonta to Enforce California&#039;s Automated License Plate Reader LawsSAN FRANCISCO—California Attorney General Rob Bonta should crack down on police agencies that still violate Californians’ privacy by sharing automated license plate reader information with out-of-state government agencies, putting abortion seekers and providers at particular risk, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the state’s American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) af...
EFF and Access Now's Submission to U.N. Expert on Anti-LGBTQ+ Repression
January 31, 2024, 3:06 PM
As part of the United Nations (U.N.) Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (IE SOGI) report to the U.N. Human Rights Council, EFF and Access Now have submitted information addressing digital rights and SOGI issues across the globe. 
The submission addresses the trends, challenges, and problems that people and civil society organizations face based on their real and perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, and ...
In Final Talks on Proposed UN Cybercrime Treaty, EFF Calls on Delegates to Incorporate Protections Against Spying and Restrict Overcriminalization or Reject Convention
January 29, 2024, 5:42 PM
UN Member States are meeting in New York this week to conclude negotiations over the final text of the UN Cybercrime Treaty, which—despite warnings from hundreds of civil society organizations across the globe, security researchers, media rights defenders, and the world’s largest tech companies—will, in its present form, endanger human rights and make the cyber ecosystem less secure for everyone.EFF and its international partners are going into this last session with a unified message: wit...
More Than a Decade Later, Site-Blocking Is Still Censorship
January 26, 2024, 7:45 PM
We're taking part in Copyright Week, a series of actions and discussions supporting key principles that should guide copyright policy. Every day this week, various groups are taking on different elements of copyright law and policy, addressing what's at stake and what we need to do to make sure that copyright promotes creativity and innovation.
As Copyright Week comes to a close, it’s worth remembering why we have it in January. Twelve years ago, a diverse coalition of internet users, websites...
Save Your Twitter Account
January 26, 2024, 12:02 AM
We're taking part in Copyright Week, a series of actions and discussions supporting key principles that should guide copyright policy. Every day this week, various groups are taking on different elements of copyright law and policy, addressing what's at stake and what we need to do to make sure that copyright promotes creativity and innovation.
Amid reports that X—the site formerly known as Twitter—is dropping in value, hindering how people use the site, and engaging in controversial account...
Tell the FTC: It's Time to Act on the Right to Repair
January 25, 2024, 11:22 PM
Update: The FTC  is no longer accepting comments for this rulemaking. More than 1,600 comments were filed in the proceeding, with many of you sharing your personal stories about why you support the right to repair. Thank you for taking action!
Do you care about being able to fix and modify your stuff? Then it's time to speak up and tell the Federal Trade Commission that you care about your right to repair.
As we have said before, you own what you buy—and you should be able do what you want wi...
San Francisco: Vote No on Proposition E to Stop Police from Testing Dangerous Surveillance Technology on You
January 25, 2024, 6:14 PM
San Francisco voters will confront a looming threat to their privacy and civil liberties on the March 5, 2024 ballot. If Proposition E passes, we can expect the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) will use untested and potentially dangerous technology on the public, any time they want, for a full year without oversight. How do we know this? Because the text of the proposition explicitly permits this, and because a city government proponent of the measure has publicly said as much.

What Home Videotaping Can Tell Us About Generative AI
January 24, 2024, 9:04 PM
We're taking part in Copyright Week, a series of actions and discussions supporting key principles that should guide copyright policy. Every day this week, various groups are taking on different elements of copyright law and policy, addressing what's at stake and what we need to do to make sure that copyright promotes creativity and innovation.
It’s 1975. Earth, Wind and Fire rule the airwaves, Jaws is on every theater screen, All In the Family is must-see TV, and Bill Gates and Paul Allen are...
Victory! Ring Announces It Will No Longer Facilitate Police Requests for Footage from Users
January 24, 2024, 7:09 PM
Amazon’s Ring has announced that it will no longer facilitate police's warrantless requests for footage from Ring users. This is a victory in a long fight, not just against blanket police surveillance, but also against a culture in which private, for-profit companies build special tools to allow law enforcement to more easily access companies’ users and their data—all of which ultimately undermine their customers’ trust.
This announcement will also not stop police from trying to get Ri...
Fragging: The Subscription Model Comes for Gamers
January 24, 2024, 12:24 AM
We're taking part in Copyright Week, a series of actions and discussions supporting key principles that should guide copyright policy. Every day this week, various groups are taking on different elements of copyright law and policy, addressing what's at stake and what we need to do to make sure that copyright promotes creativity and innovation.
The video game industry is undergoing the same concerning changes we’ve seen before with film and TV, and it underscores the need for meaningful digita...
FTC Bars X-Mode from Selling Sensitive Location Data
January 23, 2024, 11:51 PM
Update, January 23, 2024: Another week, another win! The FTC announced a successful enforcement action against another location data broker, InMarket.
Phone app location data brokers are a growing menace to our privacy and safety. All you did was click a box while downloading an app. Now the app tracks your every move and sends it to a broker, which then sells your location data to the highest bidder, from advertisers to police.
So it is welcome news that the Federal Trade Commission has brought...
EFF and More Than 100+ NGOS Set Non-Negotiable Redlines Ahead of UN Cybercrime Treaty Negotiations
January 23, 2024, 2:44 PM
EFF has joined forces with 110 NGOs today in a joint statement delivered to the United Nations Ad Hoc Committee, clearly outlining civil society non-negotiable redlines for the proposed UN Cybercrime Treaty, and asserting that states should reject the proposed treaty if these essential changes are not implemented. 
The last draft published on November 6, 2023 does not adequately ensure adherence to human rights law and standards. Initially focused on cybercrime, the proposed Treaty has alarmin...
The Public Domain Benefits Everyone – But Sometimes Copyright Holders Won’t Let Go
January 22, 2024, 9:36 PM
Every January, we celebrate the addition of formerly copyrighted works to the public domain. You’ve likely heard that this year’s crop of public domain newcomers includes Steamboat Willie, the 1928 cartoon that marked Mickey Mouse’s debut. When something enters the public domain, you’re free to copy, share, and remix it without fear of a copyright lawsuit. But the former copyright holders aren’t always willing to let go of their “property” so easily. That’s where trademark law en...
The PRESS Act Will Protect Journalists When They Need It Most
January 22, 2024, 7:45 PM
Our government shouldn’t be spying on journalists. Nor should law enforcement agencies force journalists to identify their confidential sources or go to prison. 
To fix this, we need to change the law. Now, we’ve got our best chance in years. The House of Representatives has passed the Protect Reporters from Exploitive State Spying (PRESS) Act, H.R. 4250, and it’s one of the strongest federal shield bills for journalists we’ve seen. 
Take Action
Tell Congress To Pass the PRESS Act Now...
It's Copyright Week 2024: Join Us in the Fight for Better Copyright Law and Policy
January 22, 2024, 7:12 PM
We're taking part in Copyright Week, a series of actions and discussions supporting key principles that should guide copyright policy. Every day this week, various groups are taking on different elements of copyright law and policy, addressing what's at stake and what we need to do to make sure that copyright promotes creativity and innovation.
Copyright law affects so much of our daily lives, and new technologies have only helped make everyone more and more aware of it. For example, while 1998�...
Tools to Protect Your Privacy Online | EFFector 36.1
January 22, 2024, 6:02 PM
New year, but EFF is still here to keep you up to date with the latest digital rights happenings! Be sure to check out our latest newsletter, EFFector 36.1, which covers topics ranging from: our thoughts on AI watermarking, changes in the tech landscape we'd like to see in 2024, and updates to our Street Level Surveillance hub and Privacy Badger.
EFFector 36.1 is out now—you can read the full newsletter here, or subscribe to get the next issue in your inbox automatically! You can also listen t...
The No AI Fraud Act Creates Way More Problems Than It Solves
January 19, 2024, 11:27 PM
Creators have reason to be wary of the generative AI future. For one thing, while GenAI can be a valuable tool for creativity, it may also be used to deceive the public and disrupt existing markets for creative labor. Performers, in particular, worry that AI-generated images and music will become deceptive substitutes for human models, actors, or musicians.
Existing laws offer multiple ways for performers to address this issue. In the U.S., a majority of states recognize a “right of publicit...
Companies Make it Too Easy for Thieves to Impersonate Police and Steal Our Data
January 19, 2024, 4:29 PM
For years, people have been impersonating police online in order to get companies to hand over incredibly sensitive personal information. Reporting by 404 Media recently revealed that Verizon handed over the address and phone logs of an individual to a stalker pretending to be a police officer who had a PDF of a fake warrant. Worse, the imposter wasn’t particularly convincing. His request was missing a form that is required for search warrants from his state. He used the name of a police offic...
EFF’s 2024 In/Out List
January 19, 2024, 2:46 PM
Since EFF was formed in 1990, we’ve been working hard to protect digital rights for all. And as each year passes, we’ve come to understand the challenges and opportunities a little better, as well as what we’re not willing to accept. Accordingly, here’s what we’d like to see a lot more of, and a lot less of, in 2024.

IN1. Affordable and future-proof internet access for all
EFF has long advocated for affordable, accessible, and future-pro...
EFF Unveils Its New Street Level Surveillance Hub
January 10, 2024, 6:56 PM
The Updated and Expanded Hub Sheds New Light on the Digital Surveillance Dragnet that Law Enforcement Deploys Against EveryoneSAN FRANCISCO—The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) today unveiled its new Street Level Surveillance hub, a standalone website featuring expanded and updated content on various technologies that law enforcement agencies commonly use to invade Americans’ privacy. 
The hub has new or updated pages on automated license plate readers, biometric surveillance, body-worn...
Privacy Badger Puts You in Control of Widgets
January 10, 2024, 2:34 PM
The latest version of Privacy Badger 1 replaces embedded tweets with click-to-activate placeholders. This is part of Privacy Badger's widget replacement feature, where certain potentially useful widgets are blocked and then replaced with placeholders. This protects privacy by default while letting you restore the original widget whenever you want it or need it for the page to function.
Websites often include external elements such as social media buttons, comments sections, and video players. ...
UAE Confirms Trial Against 84 Detainees; Ahmed Mansoor Suspected Among Them
January 10, 2024, 10:51 AM
The UAE confirmed this week that it has placed 84 detainees on trial, on charges of “establishing another secret organization for the purpose of committing acts of violence and terrorism on state territory.” Suspected to be among those facing trial is award-winning human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor, also known as the “the million dollar dissident,” as he was once the target of exploits that exposed major security flaws in Apple’s iOS operating system—the kind of “zero-day” vuln...
Craig Newmark Philanthropies – Celebrating 30 Years of Support for Digital Rights
January 9, 2024, 12:16 AM
EFF has been awarded a new $200,000 grant from Craig Newmark Philanthropies to strengthen our cybersecurity work in 2024. We are especially grateful this year, as it marks 30 years of donations from Craig Newmark, who joined as an EFF member just three years after our founding and four years before he launched the popular website craigslist.  
Over the past several years, grants from Craig Newmark Philanthropies have focused on supporting trustworthy journalism to defend our democracy and hold...
EFF Urges Pennsylvania Supreme Court to Find Keyword Search Warrant Unconstitutional
January 5, 2024, 7:21 PM
These Dragnet Searches Violate the Privacy of Millions of Americans SAN FRANCISCO—Keyword warrants that let police indiscriminately sift through search engine databases are unconstitutional dragnets that target free speech, lack particularity and probable cause, and violate the privacy of countless innocent people, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and other organizations argued in a brief filed today to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. 
Everyone deserves to search online without pol...
AI Watermarking Won't Curb Disinformation
January 5, 2024, 6:46 PM
Generative AI allows people to produce piles upon piles of images and words very quickly. It would be nice if there were some way to reliably distinguish AI-generated content from human-generated content. It would help people avoid endlessly arguing with bots online, or believing what a fake image purports to show. One common proposal is that big companies should incorporate watermarks into the outputs of their AIs. For instance, this could involve taking an image and subtly changing many pixels...
EFF Asks Court to Uphold Federal Law That Protects Online Video Viewers’ Privacy and Free Expression
January 4, 2024, 6:41 PM
As millions of internet users watch videos online for news and entertainment, it is essential to uphold a federal privacy law that protects against the disclosure of everyone’s viewing history, EFF argued in court last month.
For decades, the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA) has safeguarded people’s viewing habits by generally requiring services that offer videos to the public to get their customers’ written consent before disclosing that information to the government or a private party...
Victory! Police Drone Footage is Not Categorically Exempt From California’s Public Records Law
January 3, 2024, 6:20 PM
Video footage captured by police drones sent in response to 911 calls cannot be kept entirely secret from the public, a California appellate court ruled last week.
The decision by the California Court of Appeal for the Fourth District came after a journalist sought access to videos created by Chula Vista Police Department’s “Drones as First Responders” (DFR) program. The police department is the first law enforcement agency in the country to use drones to respond to emergency calls, and se...
Digital Rights for LGBTQ+ People: 2023 Year in Review
January 1, 2024, 1:16 PM
An increase in anti-LGBTQ+ intolerance is impacting individuals and communities both online and offline across the globe. Throughout 2023, several countries sought to pass explicitly anti-LGBTQ+ initiatives restricting freedom of expression and privacy. This fuels offline intolerance against LGBTQ+ people, and forces them to self-censor their online expression to avoid being profiled, harassed, doxxed, or criminally prosecuted. 
One growing threat to LGBTQ+ people is data surveillance. Across t...
Year In Review: Google’s Corporate Paternalism in The Browser
January 1, 2024, 1:15 PM
It’s a big year for the oozing creep of corporate paternalism and ad-tracking technology online. Google and its subsidiary companies have tightened their grips on the throat of internet innovation, all while employing the now familiar tactic of marketing these things as beneficial for users. Here we’ll review the most significant changes this year, all emphasizing the point that browser privacy tools (like Privacy Badger) are more important than ever.
Manifest V2 to Manifest V3: Final Death ...
How To Fight Bad Patents: 2023 Year In Review
December 31, 2023, 2:14 PM
At EFF, we believe that all the rights we have in the offline world–to speak freely, create culture, play games, build things and do business–must hold up in the digital world, as well. 
EFF’s longstanding project of fighting for a more balanced, just patent system has always borne free expression in mind. And patent trolls, who simply use intellectual property (IP) rights to extract money from others, continue to be a barrier to people who want to freely innovate, or even just use techno...
Taking Back the Web with Decentralization: 2023 in Review
December 31, 2023, 2:12 PM
When a system becomes too tightly-controlled and centralized, the people being squeezed tend to push back to reclaim their lost autonomy. The internet is no exception. While the internet began as a loose affiliation of universities and government bodies, that emergent digital commons has been increasingly privatized and consolidated into a handful of walled gardens. Their names are too often made synonymous with the internet, as they fight for the data and eyeballs of their users.
In the past fe...
States Attack Young People’s Constitutional Right to Use Social Media: 2023 Year in Review
December 30, 2023, 3:58 PM
Legislatures in more than half of the country targeted young people’s use of social media this year, with many of the proposals blocking adults’ ability to access the same sites. State representatives introduced dozens of bills that would limit young people’s use of some of the most popular sites and apps, either by requiring the companies to introduce or amend their features or data usage for young users, or by forcing those users to get permission from parents, and in some cases, share t...
Fighting European Threats to Encryption: 2023 Year in Review
December 30, 2023, 2:42 PM
Private communication is a fundamental human right. In the online world, the best tool we have to defend this right is end-to-end encryption. Yet throughout 2023, politicians across Europe attempted to undermine encryption, seeking to access and scan our private messages and pictures. 
But we pushed back in the EU, and so far, we’ve succeeded. EFF spent this year fighting hard against an EU proposal (text) that, if it became law, would have been a disaster for online privacy in the EU and thr...

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