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The Courts Cloud Your Rights Online

US Government: There's Child Porn On the Megaupload Servers Judge! 375

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the depends-on-what-is-means dept.
Fluffeh writes "In the ongoing Megaupload saga, Carpathia, the company that hosted Megaupload, is in a tough pickle. The EFF wants the data to remain on the servers so that users can get legitimate data back, the MPAA doesn't want the servers back, because it will lead to piracy. Megaupload wants to buy the servers to get all the data, but isn't allowed to as that would have the servers leaving the court's jurisdiction. The U.S .Government won't pay Carpathia for the time that the servers are sitting idle and has a new song in its repertoire by announcing yesterday that the servers 'may contain child pornography,' which would render them 'contraband' and limit Carpathia's options for dealing with them."
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US Government: There's Child Porn On the Megaupload Servers Judge!

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  • Please! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Walterk (124748) <dublet AT acm DOT org> on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @08:48AM (#39570337) Homepage Journal

    Why won't someone think of the children!?

    • Re:Please! (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @08:50AM (#39570353)

      Besides the pedophiles, you mean?

    • Re:Please! (Score:5, Funny)

      by crazyjj (2598719) * on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @09:26AM (#39570651)

      I am clutching my pearls even as we speak.

      Do you think it's possible there could also be T E R R O R I S T S using this too?!?!?!?

    • by poetmatt (793785)

      Won't someone think of the planted evidence?!

      Just think of what is uncovered when it shows MPAA has put data on megaupload's servers, not unlike the youtube case. I dont' even need to know specifics to guarantee this would happen because this is a commonly used service.

    • Yes, you got lots and lots of trouble. I'm thinking of the kids in the knickerbockers, shirt-tailed young ones, peeking in the pool hall window after school. You got trouble, folks! Right here in River City!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @08:49AM (#39570343)

    There's Communist propaganda on them there servers, or in the 1600's there be witch craft on em!

  • by tmosley (996283) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @08:51AM (#39570367)
    Isn't collective punishment a crime against humanity? Might as well shut down the entire internet because there is CP on there. Might as well shut off the phone system because pedos use it. Might as well place everyone in the country under house arrest because pedos.

    Christ, get me out of this shithole banana republic.
    • by GmExtremacy (2579091) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @08:56AM (#39570415)

      Shut up and think of the children!

      And let us spend ridiculous amounts of taxpayer dollars trying to shut down more websites that aren't even hosted in the country so that we can gain absolutely nothing from doing so!

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by oodaloop (1229816)

        Shut up and think of the children!

        It seems part of the problem is that some people are thinking of the children. Just, you know, in a different way.

      • Anyone thinking of the children constantly has to be a pedo.

        And unlike a lot of other "anyone who does $action he has to be a $boogeyman" arguments, this could actually be true. I mean, think about it, how much time do you spend thinking about girls (or guys, depending on you)?

        • by TheCarp (96830) <sjc&carpanet,net> on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @10:47AM (#39571491) Homepage

          Or a paranoid parent who thinks everyone else is chester the molseter. Seem to be a lot of those actually, the mass media is pretty much bankrolled on scaring the piss out of them, by portraying pretty much everything as a danger thats going to kill their children.

          Ever notice how polls keep showing that people think the crime rates are going up and there is more violent crime today than 10 years ago? Ever wonder why they keep getting that same result, even when the exact opposite trend is the reality?

          I personally chaulk it up to the fact that lowering violent crime rates isn't going to kill your children so its not worth talking about.

    • I'm sorry; were you under the impression that the very definition of crime was in any way related to advancing the goals of humans as a thinking, feeling populace?

    • by ArsenneLupin (766289) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @09:16AM (#39570561)

      Isn't collective punishment a crime against humanity?

      Only if it happens during war-time by a power foreign to the victim.

      Article 33 of the 4th Geneva Convention:

      Article 33. No protected person may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.

      Article 4 defines who is a Protected person:

      Persons protected by the Convention are those who, at a given moment and in any manner whatsoever, find themselves, in case of a conflict or occupation, in the hands of a Party to the conflict or Occupying Power of which they are not nationals.

      So, unless a Megaupload user is

      1. not a US national, and
      2. has been captured by the US as a prisoner of war (or his home town has been invaded by the US),

      he cannot claim that this is a war crime.

      Even Kim Dotcom himself couldn't claim protection under article 33 of the Geneva Convention:

      1. He was not captured in the scope of a conflict or occupation: indeed, he went to New Zealand willingly, and New Zealand is not at war with Germany (Kim's nationality).
      2. New Zealand authorities captured him willingly, there was no (direct) intervention of US forces here (the MAFIAA's nationality), and New Zealand is not at war with the US.

      Moreover, the "punishments" that the Geneva Convention speaks about are executions, and grave bodily punishments, not mere deprivation of access to one's data.

      • That may be so, but they are similar situations in that everyone is being punished (in different ways, obviously) for the actions of a few. Much like with DRM, the TSA, the Patriot Act, etc.

        not mere deprivation of access to one's data.

        A small evil is still an evil.

    • by sheehaje (240093)

      "Christ, get me out of this shithole banana republic."

      Since when do we grow banana's?

      • by tmosley (996283) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @10:10AM (#39571071)
        A banana republic is generally defined as a nation where the government is not subject to the rule of law.

        From wikipedia: In practice, a banana republic is a country operated as a commercial enterprise for private profit, effected by the collusion between the State and favoured monopolies, whereby the profits derived from private exploitation of public lands is private property, and the debts incurred are public responsibility. Such an imbalanced economy reduces the national currency to devalued paper-money, hence, the country is ineligible for international development credit and remains limited by the uneven economic development of town and country. Kleptocracy, government by thieves, features influential government employees exploiting their posts for personal gain (embezzlement, fraud, bribery, etc.), with the resultant deficit repaid by the native working people who “earn money”, rather than “make money”. Because of foreign (corporate) manipulation, the government is unaccountable to its nation, the country’s private sector–public sector corruption operates the banana republic, thus, the national legislature usually are for sale, and function mostly as ceremonial government.
        • by jamstar7 (694492)
          Sounds about right as a description of the US over the last decade or so. Only thing missing is a hereditary 'President For Life'. Weren't the Republicans working on repealing the 22nd Amendment during Bush II to address that problem?

          I'm a firm believer in the 'two term' policy. One term in office, one term in jail.
  • Evil (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @08:52AM (#39570377) Journal

    Jesus fucking christ the US government and its excuse for a "justice" system is evil. Evil fucking pieces of shit.

    • Re:Evil (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SecurityGuy (217807) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @09:00AM (#39570437)

      Well, of course. It was produced by lawyers. The CP argument is awful and I'd love to see the lawyer fired, disbarred, or tarred and feathered for it. Guesswork has no place in court. It MIGHT contain nothing but complete copies of the Bible. It probably doesn't, but it MIGHT.

      It SHOULD be considered entirely legitimate data until evidence is presented that it isn't.

      • Re:Evil (Score:4, Funny)

        by wisnoskij (1206448) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @09:43AM (#39570817) Homepage

        Well I am sure there is some CP on it somewhere.
        Probably bestiality, pro terrorism, and lots of other good stuff as well.

      • by tnk1 (899206)

        You know, I hate that the government usually likes to compound charges and reasons for holding your assets, but really there probably is CP on those servers. Of course, there's probably CP on Google's servers and Yahoo's servers and probably just about everywhere you might expect there to be terabytes of files accessible from the Internet that no one regularly goes through manually. That's the just way it goes. Welcome to the world of "everything is illegal".

    • Re:Evil (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968&gmail,com> on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @09:32AM (#39570717) Journal
      Sadly I have a friend who works for the state busting CP and he'd probably agree with ya. he says all they bust anymore are social retards because they are easy to catch while they won't be catching shit for actual child predators because the state hates spending a dime on actual field work. he says the social retards are nothing but loser porn addicts sitting in their basements that wouldn't touch anybody but themselves and if you threw a nekkid kid into their lair they'd just screech and hide in the corner, yet we all get to pay millions to house them for decades, all so some prosecutor can yank some huge number out for the presses which helps when he wants to run for office. Isn't the US justice system fun?
      • Re:Evil (Score:4, Insightful)

        by DigiShaman (671371) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @10:21AM (#39571191) Homepage

        Exactly right. Only the low hanging fruit gets attention. This applies to all facets of law enforcement. For all you RPG geeks out there, it's like a lvl 99 player farming for lvl 1 monsters. It's easy, effortless, and provides no additional experience. But, it does make you busy. That alone is important in this aspect.

      • "social retards" (Score:4, Interesting)

        by phorm (591458) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @10:23AM (#39571209) Journal

        This is completely unrelated to the issue at hand... however it is relevant to the parent:

        A lot of people who commit crimes against children *are* people that have other mental/social issues. No, having such deficiencies doesn't make one an abuser, but it certainly doesn't disqualify somebody from being one either.

        Two recent cases in Canada:
        a) Randall Hopley (abducted a child)
        b) Allan Schoenborn (murdered his three children)

        They'd basically qualify as the types of socially-inept persons mentioned.

        While some people are good at masking it, one must be mentally ill in some fashion to commit such harm against a child. Often such illness manifests itself as awkwardness in other parts of life.

        Again, being socially inept (or mentally unsound) does not in any way make one an abuser, but at the same time it hardly excludes one from being such a person any more than does a businessman in a suit+tie.

      • Gee, it's almost like the completely corrupt "War on Drugs" or "War on Terror." Crazy stuff! It's like they don't even care about making any change to the world at all other than making it easier to make more money in the future doing the same stuff!

  • I see a lot of hard disk crashes in the near future.
  • by Tommy Bologna (2431404) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @09:03AM (#39570467)
    "May contain" is insufficient. If the government has confiscated these servers, then they have the ability to determine for certain whether the servers do, in fact, contain child pornography. If we're playing the wild conjecture game, then servers may also contain the date of the Messiah's return; or the true location of Amelia Earhart; or the cure for cancer; or the recipe for the best chicken pot pie ever. Let's not limit ourselves to a ham-handed grope for an excuse by law enforcement. To law enforcement: If there is child porn on the servers, copy the files to an evidence drive, delete the originals, then allow access to the legally permissible files. Genius. If a drug operation is detected at 123 Main Street, you get to secure that house, not the entire county.
    • by Max Hyre (1974) * <mh-slash@hyre. n e t> on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @09:13AM (#39570545)
      The prosecutor's laptop may contain child porn, too. I vote we investigate its contents first.
      • Every congresscritter's laptop may as well, I demand a search!

        Hey, what? My money paid for the damn thing!

    • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @09:17AM (#39570569) Journal

      BTW, Bill Gates has tons of child porn on his computers and that is a fact, in fact most Republicans host and profit from child porn and I can proof it. They all own shares in companies that index the internet and when you do that, you are going to index child porn sooner or later. With the introduction of image search and the thumbnailing of said images on servers owned by the search engine companies such as Bing, these companies have child porn and serve the images to the world. Since these companies run their search engine for profit, they profit from child porn and so does anyone who has shares in them.

      By the same token, every ISP transmits child porn and every airline and postal company out there traffics in it too. Just recently a man in Hollland was arrested on a flight with childporn, since KLM did not refund his ticket, they profitted from the rape of children.

      Disgusting ain't it?

      Funny, that this kind of logic is never used in the US to hold gun companies responsible for gun crime. Maybe it is a clear message, pedo's just got to up their campaign donations.

      Did they try the old terrorist spiel yet? Can't be far behind.

      • by bidule (173941)

        BTW, Bill Gates has tons of child porn on his computers and that is a fact, in fact most Republicans host and profit from child porn and I can proof it.

        Same here. Once you've printed 100s of copies to cover the walls and ceiling it's too late to fix bad registration, trapping or low-quality fonts.

      • I believe that this very argument has been used against gun companies in the past. I don't believe it actually worked but this is a slightly different situation in that the government has already taken over the servers.

        Well, sort of.. If they actually had full control of the servers then they would have to pay the hosting company for the servers until such time as they release them. Instead they are abusing the hosting company by not letting them use the servers for anything else, not letting them provide t

  • why are they not paying the landlord for holding the servers? and don't they have the right to sell them off to recover costs or at least wipe them and then sell them off?

  • by Shavano (2541114) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @09:11AM (#39570543)

    This us an example of why I think cloud computing and in particular cloud storage is risky. At any time some government somewhere may decide to seize the servers for some reason that has nothing to do with you. Then where's your data?

    Or they may go out of business-- not just the people you thought you were dealing with but possibly subs in some unknown country.

    • by Martz (861209)

      What difference does it make it it's cloud storage, rented dedicated servers or the entire datacenter is owned by the company in question?

      Whichever way, with a court order, the feds come in and shutdown your shit before any form of due process has taken place.

      Gathering evidence ruins the company.

  • To quote Lord of War (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nidi62 (1525137) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @09:17AM (#39570567)

    Thank god we live in a world where suspicion alone does not constitute a crime

    Well....I guess we used to. I guess it all goes out the window when it comes to "piracy".

  • How about the whole attitude of the governments in developed countries "to prevent" crime?

    It started with the recognition of the right of the shitty Middle Eastern state called "israel" to "preventive" strikes in the 70s, then the excuse to "prevent" something is used universally and pervasively through all spheres of government/private citizen interaction.

    Stupid speed limits (55mph) on highways, stupid laws on school buses, stupid TSA, the hunt for any Muslim who dares to estalblish Shariah in his own land

    • by jez9999 (618189)

      If you, westerners, were worth a dime of your own beliefs you would fought tooth and nail to incorporate the following article in your man-made "constitutions"

      Don't lump all of us together. We'd break off and create a sane country if we could.

    • by Nidi62 (1525137)

      It started with the recognition of the right of the shitty Middle Eastern state called "israel" to "preventive" strikes in the 70s, then the excuse to "prevent" something is used universally and pervasively through all spheres of government/private citizen interaction.

      This is off-topic, but it could be argued that Israel has been in a state of war ever since the Suez Crisis possibly, and the mid-60s certainly. Taken out of context individual attacks might be seen as "preventative", but taken as a whole they are simply one more blow on a long, protracted war. It is primarily a low-intensity conflict for sure, but it is still a war.

    • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @09:56AM (#39570937)

      - government cannot limit freedom of individuals under a pretext to prevent crime

      in principle I agree.

      but in the real world, please name ONE country that acts properly, here. go ahead, I'll wait. go show me one that will not trample on citizens' rights in the name of 'fighting bad guys', whatever bad guys are defined as, locally.

      this is human. this is not american. humans are evil stupid bad creatures and this is the government we ALL get. ALL of us.

      we have failed to create truly fair and just governments or countries.

      there is no where to move to; its a world wide phenom.

      just stop trying to say its the US. its EVERYONE. every leader thinks this way. you disagree?

    • - government cannot limit freedom of individuals under a pretext to prevent crime

      We have one better - government may not limit freedom, period.

      Unfortunately, it's ignored. What's written is important, but following it is key.

  • Make no mistake... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @09:21AM (#39570591)

    We're watching Carpathia being placed in this chokehold to send a message here to other data centers: This could be you.

  • Why the hell... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @09:23AM (#39570621)

    ... were the data on the Megaupload servers being stored unencrypted?

    If I were offering a service like Megaupload, I'd encrypt all the data, give the uploader the key, and then forget what it was. I'd build a decrypter into the client-side download engine, so anyone downloading the files can type in the key (into their browser) so they get the original plaintext.

    That way the hosting service has plausible deniability, and can say something like "We're offering a secure service to our users -- we encrypt your data to give you the assurance that we, ourselves, aren't snooping on you." They're still subject to DMCA takedowns, if someone comes to them with a URL and key, but not subject to fishing expeditions like this one ("show me everything on your servers, hey look kiddie porn").

    All the serious kiddie porn folks are probably off on Freenet anyway...

    • by nweaver (113078) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @10:02AM (#39570999) Homepage

      Megaupload's model was not like Dropbox: it was not a storage service but an advertisement/subscription sponsored distribution service. (And it had deliberate incentives to encourage the distribution of copyrighted content and effectively ignore the takedown obligations required by the DMCA...)

      Thus the files can't be encrypted binary blobs, because the point was that anyone with a URL should be able to fetch the file, so encryption wouldn't help on the storage.

  • Child p0rn, not good, that means we will be able to prosecute the US government for being in the possession of such materials....
    Seriously though, this is what I do not like about these situations...the gov. takes whatever they want whenever they want with no regard for accountability
    to the users of megaupload that paid for legal service and are using it legally....and the gov. ties the hands of any company dealing with this along the way....to me sounds too much like a setup , a precedent being set so they

  • Maybe we can shut down facebook to investigate? Or, when you reach a certain size, you're immune to prosecution?

    Nice to see the America way of corruption and greed, lies and boogie-man politics are as alive as ever. What a crock.

    • by ATMAvatar (648864)

      Maybe we can shut down facebook to investigate? Or, when you reach a certain size, you're immune to prosecution?

      Actually, yes. That is precisely the case.

      You should celebrate our truly objective system. Everyone knows exactly how much influence they have on government. You just tally the numbers present in the corners of your green "influence papers".

  • Why can't users' have the fast track option where they can elect have their data verified by the FBI, by giving the Feds specific legal permission to investigate without the need for a warrant. FBI checks their account for CP and Copyright Infringement. If their account is clean, their data is given back, and then purged from Megaupload as it is no longer evidence as it has been confirmed that suspicions were false for this particular user.

    If the account has CP or infringing materials found,

  • excellent... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by amoeba1911 (978485) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @09:28AM (#39570675) Homepage

    This is a great full-proof way of destroying any information based business: claim there is a possibility they got child porn.

    YouTube could have child porn: Let's take down YouTube!

    Facebook profiles could have child porn! Lets take down Facebook!

    Apple engineers could keep a stock of child porn on their secret labs: Let's raid the Apple headquarters and confiscate all their equipment!

    Any computer could be used to store and view child porn! We must confiscate ALL computers!

    The Internet could be used to send child porn! We must turn off the Internet, go back to a time where television and newspapers rule the world, to protect us from child porn.

    Really, who needs SOPA PIPA ACTA when you can just claim "child porn" and get a free pass to do whatever the hell you want to do.

  • by MikeRT (947531) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @09:30AM (#39570695) Homepage

    I was talking to a relative who was a federal agent from the mid 70s through the mid 90s and saw the rise of the Department of Justice to the behemoth it is today (including the DoJ take over of the FBI from top down). His perspective comes from being a Treasury special agent and he said that the DoJ has been like this for a few decades now. It's just that ever since they began to rapidly expand, they've gotten a bigger mandate and set of resources to throw their weight around. In general, they've been a total rat's nest of corruption for several decades now in a way that makes most of the other departments look like paragons of virtue.

    The fact is that if you look at some of the absolutely wicked shit that comes out of them in terms of things they want to do, it is stuff that leaves you thinking "do these people literally conspire daily against the constitution?" The DoD and CIA had their problems with rendition and torture, but the DoJ takes it to a level that goes well beyond anything that has come to light about what those two actually want to do (rather than are compelled by Congress or the President). The DoJ frequently writes briefs and memos that go the other way around, letting or justifying Congress or the President do wicked shit.

  • But you can't prove they DON'T contain child pornography!!

    Of course, you also can't prove that unicorns DON'T exist, but that's irrelevant, of course. Now, go watch American Idol or the terrorists win.

  • by Serpents (1831432) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @09:37AM (#39570757)
    The us govt claims there might be child pr0n on the Megaupload servers. I remember when they had proven beyond any doubt that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction so excuse me if I'm inclined to doubt their judgement.
  • by Rob Riggs (6418) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @09:38AM (#39570761) Homepage Journal
    The federal government's computers may contain child porn. We should seize all of them now!!
  • Suppose there was a large apartment building, and child pornography was found in one apartment. Should the government have the right to indefinitely hold the belongings of the residents of all of the other apartments in the building?

  • While I hate to admit it, the DoJ might have circled so far around crazy that they ended up back in sane, sorta. Screaming 'child porn' has become the Goodwin of law enforcement, BUT megaupload did indeed have quite a bit of the stuff, though not nearly as much as some of the other lockers since many people who were posting it wanted to make a buck and thus used ones that were heavier handed in their 'upgrade to pay' pattern and shared revenue with the poster. Oddly enough those sites are still up... so w
  • by Kozz (7764) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @10:06AM (#39571043)

    Some folks just complain about spelling and grammar to be pedantic. In this case, however...

    Including or omitting punctuation is really important. The headline is, "US Government: There's Child Porn On the Megaupload Servers Judge!" Think the missing comma changes the meaning?

    1. "Let's eat Grandpa!"
    2. "Let's eat, Grandpa!"
  • In North America nobody is safe from the hand of the god damned moral police. People are fucked up, live with it. If they want to do something about child pornography go find the people that are making that shit. It is not a valid excuse to attack file hosting companies with, they didn't make the crap and they don't endorse it. There is a part of me that would love to see the world burn because I would rest assured that the idiots who propagate this kind of crap will be burning a bit faster than me.
  • by JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @10:58AM (#39571651)

    may contain child pornography

    May? MAY?!?
    Yeah, and I may be a terrorist, with 5 nukes in my house, ready to blow the fuck out of the nearest airport.
    I may be able to push a button on my wall and cause my house to transform into a missle launcher and blow the local precinct sky high.
    I may have a legion of ninjas that are ready to murder every government official when i click my heels 3 times.

    But I've never been arrested for these things. Why? Because may shouldn't be good enough for the fucking law.
    Good grief. I don't care one way or another about Megaupload, but holy shit has our legal system gone to fucking hell.

  • by G3ckoG33k (647276) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @11:47AM (#39572305)

    Microsoft's Bing probably has it too, in droves. In fact, any decent crawler may have it.Why sholdn't they? You don't realize until it is too late I guess.

    • by tftp (111690)

      You don't realize until it is too late I guess.

      According to Nancy Pelosi, you need to download it to know what's in it.

      Then it follows that it is illegal to download anything off of Internet because anything could be a forbidden material. Even PGP signed files are not sufficient.

  • by tekrat (242117) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @12:05PM (#39572533) Homepage Journal

    I "may" have a nuclear bomb in my basement. I "may" be able to fly by flapping my arms really fast.

    May is such a loaded term, and then combined with the magic boogie-man of "child porn", why, that's a justification for just about *anything*.

    And while we're on this subject, why don't we go after the RIAA for Child Porn? I mean, it seems like a pretty fair deal, we have plenty of proof:

    Ringo Starr: "You're 16, you're beautiful and you're mine"
    Gary Puckett: "Young Girl, get out of my mind"
    Sting: "Don't stand so close to me" ...and others. Hell, half of the RIAA's catalog is about jailbait. I think the FBI needs to investigate.

  • by Benfea (1365845) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @01:01PM (#39573215)
    "We're protecting the people from porn" is the same excuse the Chinese government uses for its censorship of the Internet.

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