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Yahoo and Facebook Join Google In FISC Petition After Government Talks Fail 114

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the victory-in-secret-court-still-considered-failure dept.
msm1267 writes "Google, Yahoo and Facebook filed amended requests today with the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court reiterating their desire to publish numbers on requests for user data related to national security. Google, meanwhile, went a step further asking for an open, public hearing with the court so that the issue could be publicly debated." Statements from Yahoo's general counsel (filed motion [PDF]) and Facebook's general counsel (filed motion [PDF]). According to Facebook, "In recent weeks, it has become clear that the dialogue with the U.S. government that produced some additional transparency at the outset is at this point unlikely to result in more progress. As a result, today we are joining others in the industry in petitioning the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to require the government to permit companies to disclose more information about the volume and types of national security-related orders they receive."
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Yahoo and Facebook Join Google In FISC Petition After Government Talks Fail

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 09, 2013 @06:18PM (#44803617)

    There's no constitutional or legal basis for them not releasing it. If any any NSA or lawyer human filth shows up and says otherwise a bullet in the head will fix it.

    Problem solved.

    • by cbiltcliffe (186293) on Monday September 09, 2013 @07:37PM (#44804165) Homepage Journal

      How is this a troll? Rude and blunt, maybe, but they're right. There is no constitutional basis for not releasing the information.
      A bullet might be a little bit overkill, but it depends on the threats that the "human filth" makes to Facebook/Yahoo/Google first, doesn't it?

    • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Monday September 09, 2013 @08:09PM (#44804317) Journal

      There's no constitutional or legal basis for them not releasing it

      I am afraid that we are living in a world where the CONSTITUTION ain't worth a shit to those in power.

      To us, the powerless the CONSTITUTION still means something - because it serves as a shield against abuse.

      But to those living and working inside Washington D.C., the CONSTITUTION is anything but a mere piece of paper, as for them, POWER IS EVERYTHING.

      Their subjugation of their subjects (aka, people like you and me) did not start yesterday. It started DECADES AGO, it's only now that they have gained so much power that they have become SO EMBOLDEN that they dare to publicly dis-regard the Constitution and everything that was stated inside the Constitution.

      Who is to blame for it ? Them in Washington, D.C., or us, the voters who voted them in, every fucking four years, without fail ?

      • by WCMI92 (592436)

        heir subjugation of their subjects (aka, people like you and me) did not start yesterday. It started DECADES AGO, it's only now that they have gained so much power that they have become SO EMBOLDEN that they dare to publicly dis-regard the Constitution and everything that was stated inside the Constitution.

        Who is to blame for it ? Them in Washington, D.C., or us, the voters who voted them in, every fucking four years, without fail ?

        The biggest need we have right now if we want to remain a free people is

      • There's no constitutional or legal basis for them not releasing it

        I am afraid that we are living in a world where the CONSTITUTION ain't worth a shit to those in power.

        To us, the powerless the CONSTITUTION still means something - because it serves as a shield against abuse.

        But to those living and working inside Washington D.C., the CONSTITUTION is anything but a mere piece of paper, as for them, POWER IS EVERYTHING.

        Their subjugation of their subjects (aka, people like you and me) did not start yesterday. It started DECADES AGO, it's only now that they have gained so much power that they have become SO EMBOLDEN that they dare to publicly dis-regard the Constitution and everything that was stated inside the Constitution.

        Who is to blame for it ? Them in Washington, D.C., or us, the voters who voted them in, every fucking four years, without fail ?

        We (US citizens) are now beholden to and RULED by persons who have broken their oaths to uphold the Constitution. I am appalled at the brazen and callous attitudes of our elected AND appointed "leaders". This callousness first caught my attention while I watched Oliver North, a sworn officer in the US Military, brazenly challenge the very precepts he was supposed to uphold. My impression of him is that he is a traitor, a coward, and a war criminal, and should have been prosecuted as such.

        While I whole

        • There's no constitutional or legal basis for them not releasing it

          I am afraid that we are living in a world where the CONSTITUTION ain't worth a shit to those in power.

          To us, the powerless the CONSTITUTION still means something - because it serves as a shield against abuse.

          But to those living and working inside Washington D.C., the CONSTITUTION is anything but a mere piece of paper, as for them, POWER IS EVERYTHING.

          Their subjugation of their subjects (aka, people like you and me) did not start yesterday. It started DECADES AGO, it's only now that they have gained so much power that they have become SO EMBOLDEN that they dare to publicly dis-regard the Constitution and everything that was stated inside the Constitution.

          Who is to blame for it ? Them in Washington, D.C., or us, the voters who voted them in, every fucking four years, without fail ?

          We (US citizens) are now beholden to and RULED by persons who have broken their oaths to uphold the Constitution. I am appalled at the brazen and callous attitudes of our elected AND appointed "leaders". This callousness first caught my attention while I watched Oliver North, a sworn officer in the US Military, brazenly challenge the very precepts he was supposed to uphold. My impression of him is that he is a traitor, a coward, and a war criminal, and should have been prosecuted as such.

          While I wholeheartedly agree with your statements and sentiments, I must ask this of your last sentence (specifically, "the voters who voted them in, every fucking four years, without fail?"): What choices do we truly have in a rigged system? How can "we" correct the situation? I am convinced that the US (as a Constitutional Republic) is in the throes of failure, akin to the "bread and circuses" phase of the Roman Empire (or, the Roaming Umpire, for Firesign Theatre fans). All hail Caliuga (sp?). Let's trump the Ump!

          They are voted in every four years because they have rigged the system so that they can't be removed. Here in Arizona, a Red State, we want to get rid of John McCain. He can not be gotten rid of. No Republican will run against him because that is against the party rules and no one in a Red State wants another Democrat in congress. Who the hell do we vote for? We are 100% stuck with McCain although the majority wants him out. This is one of the main stumbling blocks of reforming government.

      • by arichnad (883811)

        But to those living and working inside Washington D.C., the CONSTITUTION is anything but a mere piece of paper, as for them, POWER IS EVERYTHING.

        The people you're referring to rarely live in DC. They mostly reside outside of the city.

        The people who live in DC have no power. Or at least no more power than you or I.

      • Wow. The NSA is getting bold. Maybe they think wrapping the TRIGGER WORDS in <b> tags and ORing the chars with 0x20 will have some kind of CHILLING EFFECT on public outcry?

        Sad to think that talking about your country's CONSTITUTION could get you on some kind of WATCH LIST...

      • Who is to blame for it ? Them in Washington, D.C., or us, the voters who voted them in, every fucking four years, without fail ?

        We can't successfully vote out the corruption when the corporations/ultra-wealthy that own the mass media use it to ensure that any third-party political groups are thoroughly discredited, use their money/influence to "guide" the two functional political parties to only put forth candidates that will be sympathetic to their interests, and to ensure any recalcitrant/troublemaking politicians toe the line.

  • As much as myself and others may dislike the way Google does certain things, they are primarily an advertising company and they have to turn a profit. That they are big enough to take the risk of standing up for our freedoms speaks volumes about the stewardship of the company. Let the Google bashers come out, but as they say, Haters Gonna Hate [tumblr.com].
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Google, Yahoo, and Facebook weren't this vocal before the Snowden Chronicles. Disingenuous bullshit from all. This is only damage-control so they can continue making more money, it has nothing to do with your rights. Bootlicker.

      -- Ethanol-fueled

      • Re:Gets popcorn (Score:5, Insightful)

        by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Monday September 09, 2013 @06:45PM (#44803821)

        Google, Yahoo, and Facebook weren't this vocal before the Snowden Chronicles. Disingenuous bullshit from all. This is only damage-control so they can continue making more money...

        Well, let's face it. Right now these companies are probably seeing their plans for future growth go down the toilet - after all, why would anyone (especially from outside the US) even consider using their services now? I know the reports so far say they haven't taken a significant hit, but most businesses don't turn on a dime... any exit would need to be thought through. I expect this whole situation will be very bad for these companies as we get a year or two out.

        But whatever their selfish motivations, these actions are ultimately to our benefit. They certainly have more clout than we do.

        • by morgauxo (974071)

          Yeah, no doubt everyone moved off the cloud as soon as the leaks began...

      • Re:Gets popcorn (Score:4, Interesting)

        by erice (13380) on Monday September 09, 2013 @07:13PM (#44803993) Homepage

        Google, Yahoo, and Facebook weren't this vocal before the Snowden Chronicles. Disingenuous bullshit from all. This is only damage-control so they can continue making more money, it has nothing to do with your rights. Bootlicker.

        -- Ethanol-fueled

        Sure. It's damage control but look at it from their point of view. They are getting orders from a secret court. If they complain in a manner that is legal, nobody hears it. Nothing changes. If they complain in a manner that could get the public's attention, employees risk criminal prosecution, the company loses credibility (because it looks like they are the ones collaborating), AND nothing may change. Damned if you don't. Double damned if you do.

        After Snowden, the damage is done, and their best course of action is to raise as much of a stink as much as possible. Which still looks lame because the law is written to squash effective opposition and no one wants to go to jail over this.

        I'm sure you think you would be willing to be the hero. But do you really want to be prosecuted for a federal offense in a secret court?

        • by ae1294 (1547521)

          I'm sure you think you would be willing to be the hero. But do you really want to be prosecuted for a federal offense in a secret court?

          To steal some IP from the trolls. I think you will have to be "an hero" at this point to fight them but the same could be siad at the start of the US when it faced the superpower of that time.

      • Google, Yahoo, and Facebook weren't this vocal before the Snowden Chronicles. Disingenuous bullshit from all.

        Disingenuous bullshit or otherwise, where the hell is MICROSOFT ?

        Maybe Google, Facebook, Yahoo are not sincere (and most probably they are not) in their latest publicity stunt, but at least, they are putting up a dog and pony show.

        On the other hand, MICROSOFT's silence all these while is really deafening.

        • by bmo (77928)

          > where the hell is MICROSOFT ?

          NSA_KEY

          --
          BMO

          Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.

          • NSA_KEY

            hey, man, they're keeping up with the times too:

            "When we upgrade or update products we aren't absolved from the need to comply with existing or future lawful demands."

    • by Guppy06 (410832)

      That they are big enough to take the risk of standing up for our freedoms speaks volumes about the stewardship of the company.

      Or they are simply trying to give such an appearance to try to salvage the loss of business the NSA scandal is creating for such online services. They need not actually care while "framing the message" so longs the ultimate impact to their bottom line is negligible.

      Want to see how Google, et al really feel? Keep an eye on their political campaign contributions, past and future.

      • Or they are simply trying to give such an appearance to try to salvage the loss of business the NSA scandal is creating for such online services.

        The problem with your idea is that in fact there has been no loss in business for Google over their cooperation with the NSA, and indeed the average American doesn't really care.

        I know it's popular to spout the anti-big-business line when you are in college, but as you grow older and wiser, you will find that your over-simplistic idealism doesn't mesh with reality.

        • by Guppy06 (410832)

          And if they actually had a problem with NSA snooping they wouldn't continue throwing campaign money at the incumbents on the Congressional committees responsible for said snooping.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      While what they're doing is laudable it isn't a fight for our freedom, it's a fight for their bottom line. How many are now shutting GPS off on their phones when they're not using it? How many are avoiding these services as much as possible?

      And Google is surely losing cloud customers. It seems to me that this has Google scared shitless.

      • by morgauxo (974071)

        Ughh.

        How many probably think that the problem is fixed just by doing that? No wonder there isn't more protest!

        First, just monitoring which cell tower your phone is communicating with (and it is always communicating) shows at least what neighborhood you are in. Checking your signal levels at a few adjacent towers can narrow it down even better.

        Second... prove to me that your GPS is actually off. So.. your non-government apps don't see it anymore and the icon went away. Can you see the actual charges on t

      • by bmo (77928)

        >How many are now shutting GPS off on their phones when they're not using it?

        It's required for E-911. By Law. Either that or triangulation via towers. It's probably never off.

        --
        BMO

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          Not all phones have GPS so I don't see how it could be mandatory by law, but yes, they can triangulate your position from cell towers, albeit with lower precision.

          • by bmo (77928)

            >Not all phones have GPS so I don't see how it could be mandatory by law,

            You forgot to read the rest of the sentence. Cell providers are /required by law/ to supply lat/long. If your phone has GPS, it's going to be used for E911. And I said "failing that, they will use triangulation."

            http://www.fcc.gov/guides/wireless-911-services [fcc.gov]

            Phase II E911 rules require wireless service providers to provide more precise location information to PSAPs; specifically, the latitude and longitude of the caller. This in

    • Re:Gets popcorn (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mitreya (579078) <mitreya@gmail.LAPLACEcom minus math_god> on Monday September 09, 2013 @06:40PM (#44803789)

      That they are big enough to take the risk of standing up for our freedoms

      They have petitioned the government to publish the number of requests they fully respond to. After the spying scandals have started (not before)

      That is a far cry from "standing up for our freedoms". They are not contesting any of the requests yet, are they?

  • by l2718 (514756) on Monday September 09, 2013 @06:20PM (#44803637)
    First, note the name of the court. Second, consider the surveillance Google et al would like to discuss.
    • by BlueStrat (756137)

      "Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court"

      First, note the name of the court. Second, consider the surveillance Google et al would like to discuss.

      If you are not "Of the Body" (one of the elite power brokers and their cronies & minions instead of Landru, in this case) then your are "Foreign", QED.

      This administration refers to whistleblowering as "betrayal". Not betrayal of the US and it's people and/or the constitution, but betrayal of the power-elite and politicians working together to gradually enslave the nation and eventually the world, if not stopped.

      This has nothing to do with (R) or (D). Both are nearly equally guilty. They only fight over

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday September 09, 2013 @06:24PM (#44803657) Journal
    When Google, Yahoo, and Facebook join together to assert that the state of surveillance on the internet is out of hand, you know you are totally fucked.

    It's like having the horsemen of the apocalypse criticizing your policy decisions.
    • If this (limited amount that we know of) is what the NSA is doing with Facebook and email, can you imagine what they're up to with spying on IRC channels? I'll bet even using IRC is enough to get you on a list.
    • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Monday September 09, 2013 @06:33PM (#44803743)

      When Google, Yahoo, and Facebook join together to assert that the state of surveillance on the internet is out of hand, you know you are totally fucked.

      Actually, they seem to be claiming just the opposite. That they have been unfairly maligned by the Snowden leaks and they want to clear their names.

      I'm not quite sure what they can say that would make me believe them. So far their public statements have felt like they were as ultra-parsed as the NSA's own denials.

      • by Nerdfest (867930)

        You'll notice that Microsoft is not there. I don't think they have been unfairly maligned.

        • by mysidia (191772)

          You'll notice that Microsoft is not there. I don't think they have been unfairly maligned.

          With Ballmer at the helm; upper management hasn't even realized yet that there is this Snowden thing, and that the debacle is a threat to their future business. It hurts Google, so they see it as a win for their services -- which they are always claiming protect your privacy better... remember the whole Don't get Scroogled campaign?

          When MS catches up and realizes about the Snowden thing; they'll probably wait u

          • by WCMI92 (592436)

            Biggest threat to Microsoft's business was their massive blunder with Windows 8, and the failure of Windows 8.1 to fix it in any meaningful way. So what if we get the "start" button back only to be taken back to the retarded touch interface of monochromatic tile bullshit where you can't find your applications!

            • by mysidia (191772)

              That's an issue.... but at least Microsoft still offers On-Premise server solutions. Google doesn't have an on-premise version of Google Apps that you can purchase, download, and deploy in your own datacenter; without pushing your data resources out to the cloud where they are easy pickings for the Three-letter-agencies.

              • Does it really make a difference if those on-premise solutions are _also_ back-doored?
                • by mysidia (191772)

                  Does it really make a difference if those on-premise solutions are _also_ back-doored?

                  Backdooring a product that is already sold is harder -- it requires a patch.

                  Also; I don't think the NSA can legally do it.

                  The NSA and the government is empowered to require service providers to hand over information, or allow the communications going through the service provider to be tapped.

                  There's no legal way that the NSA can require a software company to publish a backdoored version of a commercial product tha

      • by swillden (191260)

        So far their public statements have felt like they were as ultra-parsed as the NSA's own denials.

        You mean like this one, from David Drummond's (Google's chief legal counsel) live Q&A with the Guardian:

        I'm not sure I can say this more clearly: we're not in cahoots with the NSA and there’s is no government program that Google participates in that allows the kind of access that the media originally reported. Note that I say "originally" because you'll see that many of those original sources corrected their articles after it became clear that the PRISM slides were not accurate. Now, what does happen is that we get specific requests from the government for user data. We review each of those requests and push back when the request is overly broad or doesn't follow the correct process. There is no free-for-all, no direct access, no indirect access, no back door, no drop box.

        If that strikes you as "ultra-parsed", I submit that you're the one doing the parsing, not Drummond.

        • by swillden (191260)

          Oh, forgot the link [theguardian.com].

        • There is no free-for-all, no direct access, no indirect access, no back door, no drop box.

          If that strikes you as "ultra-parsed", I submit that you're the one doing the parsing, not Drummond.

          You are right, that particular statement does not sound ultra-parsed. Given what we know about CALEA [wikipedia.org] it sounds like a lie, particularly the "no indirect access" part.

          • by swillden (191260)

            There is no free-for-all, no direct access, no indirect access, no back door, no drop box.

            If that strikes you as "ultra-parsed", I submit that you're the one doing the parsing, not Drummond.

            You are right, that particular statement does not sound ultra-parsed. Given what we know about CALEA [wikipedia.org] it sounds like a lie, particularly the "no indirect access" part.

            Based on what we know about CALEA, that conclusion makes no sense.

            The PRISM claims were about sweeping, general access that grabbed basically all data. CALEA requires telecoms providers to provide intercepts when presented with a warrant. Though the law doesn't say so, I'd suppose that a National Security Letter would do as well, but neither case requires broad access, only specific, targeted intercepts when presented with a lawful request.

            Drummond specifically addressed that aspect in the sentence imme

            • The PRISM claims were about sweeping, general access that grabbed basically all data.

              Actually the PRISM claims were all of one line from an NSA slide that specifically said "direct access." Some people extrapolated that into all kinds of other things, but the actual reporting was very specific and the Guardian was careful to always reference that NSA's statement in their reporting.

              Drummond specifically addressed that aspect in the sentence immediately prior to the one you quoted.

              That's funny, you are now arguing that Drummond was parsing his words. That his broad and sweeping denials were actually limited.

              • by swillden (191260)

                Drummond specifically addressed that aspect in the sentence immediately prior to the one you quoted.

                That's funny, you are now arguing that Drummond was parsing his words. That his broad and sweeping denials were actually limited.

                Huh? I guess if you're bound and determined to find duplicity, you'll keep looking until you do.

                His broad denials flatly contradicted any sort of open access. Period. He also acknowledged that Google complies with lawful requests... but with the caveat that each request is scrutinized.

                How is that hard to understand?

                • He also acknowledged that Google complies with lawful requests... but with the caveat that each request is scrutinized.

                  (a) There has never been a question of "lawfulness"
                  (b) His broad-but-not-broad denial doesn't address how specific each request must be. We already know the FISA court was OK with a single request covering basically every customer at each telco

                  I guess if you're bound and determined to find duplicity, you'll keep looking until you do.

                  Fool me once...

                  • by swillden (191260)

                    He also acknowledged that Google complies with lawful requests... but with the caveat that each request is scrutinized.

                    (a) There has never been a question of "lawfulness"

                    I'm not sure what you mean there. I think FISA orders are constitutionally suspect, but barring a ruling otherwise, they're lawful. NSA wire-level snooping is clearly not legal, though the NSA's choice to distinguish between data acquisition and "collection" (meaning reading what they acquired) may provide them a crack to slip through.

                    (b) His broad-but-not-broad denial doesn't address how specific each request must be. We already know the FISA court was OK with a single request covering basically every customer at each telco

                    But Drummond said "no free for all", which is what that would be. The fact that other companies did engage in a free for all (and never denied it, BTW -- a point which seems l

                    • But Drummond said "no free for all", which is what that would be.

                      Only by one specific definition. Obviously the government does not think it is a free for all or they would not have been pushing for additional access ala CALEA II. [schneier.com]

                      When did Google fool you?

                      http://www.theatlanticwire.com/technology/2013/06/new-and-improved-facebook-and-google-statements-prism-still-have-some-holes/66024/ [theatlanticwire.com]

                    • by swillden (191260)
                      Your'e ridiculous. I'm done. You can have the last word.
                    • Your'e ridiculous. I'm done. You can have the last word.

                      Ok, I will take it.

                      The problem here is that you are willing to parse what Google says in their favor and then assume that anybody who doesn't read it that way is ridiculous. But in this environment, where they have every reason to lie and no reason to be honest, that doesn't cut it.

                      Furthermore you weaken your position by trying to piecemeal their statements to be conditional when your very first response was that their statements were unconditional.

                      Even if they are honest, they don't get the benefit of the

      • So far their public statements have felt like they were as ultra-parsed as the NSA's own denials.

        And I don't blame them. They are walking a razor thin line even talking about the subject all, our government has become so fascist.

    • Of course it's bad. It reflects badly on their image, and that's bad for revenue.

    • Nah, they're just pissed off that they have new competition. The old neighborhood was just fine, thankyouverymuch.

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      When Google, Yahoo, and Facebook join together to assert that the state of surveillance on the internet is out of hand, you know you are totally fucked.

      Not really.

      You have to realize the business model - all of them sell your information for money. Google especially since that's their core revenue stream - not just Google Ads, but every other ad network they own, including DoubleClick. Between ads, Google Analytics, YouTube and other Google properties, they pretty much know your entire surfing history. (Goo

  • As the saying goes, "It's easier to ask forgiveness than permission."
    • by celle (906675)

      "It's easier to ask forgiveness than permission."

          But it may not be safer.

      • by slick7 (1703596)

        "It's easier to ask forgiveness than permission."

        But it may not be safer.

        Safety is relative. When you are in possession of information others want hidden, you can become a liability that must be "dealt with". Releasing this information can piss people off, yet being an object of anger is better than being an object for disposal.

  • What's with Yahoo's lawyers? Their motion is filed as a scanned pdf file -- no searchable text.

    I can understand the need to do this with redacted documents, but this document contains no redactions. It's the 21st centary already, why can't Zwillgen PLLC get with the times already?

  • Between them Google, Yahoo and Facebook pretty much own the American Government. How much does it cost to buy an American politician these days?
    • by Guy Harris (3803)

      Between them Google, Yahoo and Facebook pretty much own the American Government.

      ...because, of course, there are no other large US corporations that might have their own desires, not always aligned with those three corporations.

  • Are they also going to ask the government whether they have installed a special hardware inside their network and cloud servers? Or this is another story...
  • by WCMI92 (592436) on Monday September 09, 2013 @09:11PM (#44804591) Homepage

    ...to pass laws abridging THE FREEDOM OF SPEECH, or the PRESS...

    These companies don't need to beg the government or grovel before any court. The Constitution grants them the right to free speech, INCLUDING the right to disclose what the GOVERNMENT is demanding of them to violate their customers.

    It's time to quit ACCEPTING the premise of this kind of government power and authority. It's time to start showing the Obama Regime the SAME LEVEL OF RESPECT it's showing to the Constitution!

  • This is where US starts to loose it's dominance of the major power controlling the internet.
    The big American software and internet companies will never enjoy the same confidence as before. A few years from now we'll start to see non-american alternatives to Google, Facebook, Microsoft and their likes, and re-routing of major international data hardlines and junctions.
    100 years from now people will be wearing Swonden masks instead of Guy Fawkes
  • Just do it anyway, even if they know it'll cause a stir. Then, apologize for it later, but continue anyway since the "damage" has already been done and they can get back to the immortal corporate duel for monopoly (this time the fight's over spying... "There can be only ONE!").

    Just like everything else they do.

  • It is very true that ere is no way past a system that is set up and plays unto itself. It's like playing monopoly where the bank isn't giving up cash except for itself...oh, wait....
  • While looking around at NSA/FISA mandated backdoors both Adobe Flash and Java should be explored.

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