What Companies Can Do Now to Protect Digital Rights In A Post-Roe World
May 10, 2022, 7:57 PM
The increasing risk that the Supreme Court will overturn federal constitutional abortion protections has refocused attention on the role digital service providers of all kinds play in facilitating access to health information, education, and care—and the data they collect in return.
In a post-Roe world, service providers can expect a raft of subpoenas and warrants seeking user data that could be employed to prosecute abortion seekers, providers, and helpers. They can also expect pressure to ag...
Reproductive Privacy Requires Data Privacy
May 10, 2022, 6:46 PM
EFF supports data privacy for all, and that includes people seeking reproductive health care. Even before the Supreme Court draft decision regarding Roe v. Wade leaked, EFF was engaged with reproductive justice advocates on how to better protect data privacy for people seeking care, providing it, and funding it. We’ve provided digital privacy and security tips for patients seeking care and people involved in abortion access. But more is needed.
That's why EFF supports California’s A.B. 2091,...
A Token of Thanks for a Brighter Future
May 10, 2022, 4:39 PM
UPDATE: All Sustaining Donor Challenge Coins have been claimed! But there’s plenty of other member gear, and EFF can sure use your help.
EFF members have joined forces to fight for civil liberties and human rights online for over 30 years. Our movement has never been an easy one, but the future of technology depends on our determination. EFF members power EFF’s attorneys, activists, and technologists every day. Together, we can make a difference for every tech users’ right to privacy, f...
Podcast Episode: The Philosopher King
May 10, 2022, 8:04 AM
Computer scientists often build algorithms with a keen focus on “solving the problem,” without considering the larger implications and potential misuses of the technology they’re creating. That’s how we wind up with machine learning that prevents qualified job applicants from advancing, or blocks mortgage applicants from buying homes, or creates miscarriages of justice in parole and other aspects of the criminal justice system.
James Mickens—a lifelong hacker, perennial wisecracker, an...
EFF and Other Civil Society Organizations Issue Report on Danger to Digital Rights in Ola Bini Trial https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2022/05/eff-and-other-civil-society-organizations-issue-report-danger-digital-rights-what
May 9, 2022, 8:09 PM
In preparation for what may be the final days of the trial of Ola Bini, an open source and free software developer arrested shortly after Julian Assange's ejection from Ecuador’s London Embassy, civil society organizations observing the case have issued a report citing due process violations, technical weaknesses, political pressures, and risks that this criminal prosecution entails for the protection of digital rights. Bini was initially detained three years ago and previous stages of his pro...
Thomson Reuters to Review Human Rights Impact of its Data Collection for ICE
May 9, 2022, 4:04 PM
EFF, along with many other organizations, has loudly sounded the alarm about data brokers and the myriad ways they can collect data on unsuspecting users, as well as the numerous dangers of public-private surveillance partnerships. One of the companies that has sometimes flown under the radar, however, is the Canada-based media conglomerate Thomson Reuters. But after coming under increasing criticism for its provision of surveillance technologies to and contracts with U.S. Immigration and Cust...
SafeGraph’s Disingenuous Claims About Location Data Mask a Dangerous Industry
May 6, 2022, 7:54 PM
On Tuesday, Motherboard reported that data broker SafeGraph was selling location information “related to visits to clinics that provide abortions including Planned Parenthood facilities.” This included where people came from and where they went afterwards.
In response, SafeGraph agreed to stop selling data about Planned Parenthood visitors. But it also defended its behavior, claiming “SafeGraph has always committed to the highest level of privacy practices ensuring individual privacy is NE...
The Movement to Ban Government Use of Face Recognition
May 5, 2022, 3:42 PM
In the hands of police and other government agencies, face recognition technology presents an inherent threat to our privacy, free expression, information security, and social justice. Our faces are unique identifiers that can’t be left at home, or replaced like a stolen ID or compromised password. The technology facilitates covert mass surveillance of the places we frequent, people we associate with, and, purportedly, our emotional state.
Fortunately, communities across the country are fighti...
Digital Security and Privacy Tips for Those Involved in Abortion Access
May 4, 2022, 9:11 PM
Legislation deputizing people to find, sue, and collect damages from anyone who tries to help people seeking abortion care creates serious digital privacy and security risks for those involved in abortion access. Patients, their family members and friends, doctors, nurses, clinic staff, reproductive rights activists, abortion rights counselors and website operators, insurance providers, and even drivers who help take patients to clinics may face grave risks to their privacy and safety. Other leg...
The EU's Copyright Directive Is Still About Filters, But EU’s Top Court Limits Its Use
May 4, 2022, 7:00 AM
The Court of Justice of the European Union has issued a long-awaited judgment on the compatibility of the EU Copyright Directive’s filtering requirements with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. The ruling recognizes the tension between copyright filters and the right to freedom of expression, but falls short of banning upload filters altogether.
Under Article 17 of the EU’s controversial Copyright Directive, large tech companies must ensure that infringing content is no...
Digital Rights Updates with EFFector 34.3
May 3, 2022, 3:53 PM
Want the latest news on your digital rights? Well, you're in luck! Version 34, issue 3 of our EFFector newsletter is out now. Catch up on the latest EFF news by reading our newsletter or listening to the new audio version below. This issue includes Google's willingness to give U.S. law enforcement information from keyword search warrants and, of course, our thoughts and suggestions for Twitter's new owner.
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EFFECTOR 34.3 - How to Prevent Twitter from Going the Way of the Dodo...
Podcast Episode: Teaching AI to Its Targets
May 3, 2022, 11:37 AM
Too many young people – particularly young people of color – lack enough familiarity or experience with emerging technologies to recognize how artificial intelligence can impact their lives, in either a harmful or an empowering way. Educator Ora Tanner saw this and rededicated her career toward promoting tech literacy and changing how we understand data sharing and surveillance, as well as teaching how AI can be both a dangerous tool and a powerful one for innovation and activism.
By now her...
Tracking Exposed: Demanding That the Gods Explain Themselves
May 2, 2022, 8:17 PM
Imagine if your boss made up hundreds of petty rules and refused to disclose them, but every week, your pay was docked based on how many of those rules you broke. When you’re an online creator and your “boss” is a giant social media platform, that’s exactly how your compensation works.
“Algospeak” is a new English dialect that emerged from the desperate attempts of social media users to “please the algorithm”: that is, to avoid words and phrases that cause social media platform...
The EU Digital Markets Act Places New Obligations on “Gatekeeper” Platforms
May 2, 2022, 6:09 PM
The European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) is a proposal for bringing competition and fairness back to online platform markets. It just cleared a major hurdle on the way to becoming law in the EU as the European Parliament and the Council, representing the member states, reached a political agreement.
The DMA is complex and has many facets, but its overall approach is to place new requirements and restrictions on online “gatekeepers”: the largest tech platforms, which control access to...
The EU Digital Markets Act’s Interoperability Rule Addresses An Important Need, But Raises Difficult Security Problems for Encrypted Messaging
May 2, 2022, 5:46 PM
The European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) allows new messaging services to demand interoperability (the ability to exchange messages) from the internet's largest messaging services (like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and iMessage). Interoperability is an important tool to promote competition and prevent monopolists from shutting down user-empowering innovation. But an interoperability requirement for messaging services that are end-to-end encrypted raises particularly thorny security and ...
EFF Statement on the Declaration for the Future of the Internet
April 28, 2022, 8:12 PM
The White House announced today that sixty one countries have signed the Declaration for the Future of the Internet. The high-level vision and principles expressed in the Declaration—to have a single, global network that is truly open, fosters competition, respects privacy and inclusion, and protects human rights and fundamental freedoms of all people—are laudable. But clearly they are aspirational. Implementing these principles will require many signatory countries to change their current p...
Canvas and other Online Learning Platforms Aren't Perfect—Just Ask Students
April 27, 2022, 6:21 PM
School digital environments are increasingly locked down, increasingly invasive, and increasingly used for disciplinary action. This has never been more troubling than during the pandemic, with schools adopting remote proctoring and surveillance tools at alarming rates and entering students’ homes via school-issued and personal devices. As students have tried to educate their teachers and administrators about the dangers of surveillance and the need for student privacy, they have often fought ...
Amidst Invasion of Ukraine, Platforms Continue to Erase Critical War Crimes Documentation
April 27, 2022, 1:53 PM
When atrocities happen—in Mariupol, Gaza, Kabul, or Christchurch—users and social media companies face a difficult question: how do we handle online content that shows those atrocities? Can and should we differentiate between pro-violence content containing atrocities and documentation by journalists or human rights activists? In a conflict, should platforms take sides as to whose violent content is allowed?
The past decade has demonstrated that social media platforms play an important role ...
EFF to European Court: No Intermediary Liability for Social Media Users
April 26, 2022, 11:41 PM
Courts and legislatures around the globe are hotly debating to what degree online intermediaries—the chain of entities that facilitate or support speech on the internet—are liable for the content they help publish. One thing they should not be doing is holding social media users legally responsible for comments posted by others to their social media feeds, EFF and Media Defence told the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).Before the court is the case Sanchez v. France, in which a politici...
What Low-Income People Will Lose with a Deadlocked FCC
April 26, 2022, 11:09 PM
When the massive, bipartisan infrastructure package passed Congress, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was tasked with ensuring equal access to broadband services. That provision is called “Digital Discrimination” and it states, for the first time in federal law, that specifically broadband access cannot be built along the lines of race, income, and other protected classes unless an ISP has an economic or technical justification for the discrimination. In other words, it is now a m...
DSA Agreement: No Filternet, But Human Rights Concerns Remain
April 26, 2022, 9:14 PM
The European Union reached another milestone late last week in its journey to pass the Digital Services Act (DSA) and revamp regulation of digital platforms to address a myriad of problems users face—from overbroad content takedown rules to weak personal data privacy safeguards. There’s a lot to like in the new DSA agreement EU lawmakers reached, and a lot to fear.Based on what we have learned so far, the deal avoids transforming social networks and search engines into censorship tools, whic...
Plaintiffs Press Appeals Court to Rule That FOSTA Violates the First Amendment
April 25, 2022, 11:40 PM
Two human rights organizations, a digital library, a sex worker activist, and a certified massage therapist on Monday appealed a ruling that denied their constitutional challenge to FOSTA (Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act), an overbroad and censorious internet law that harms sex workers.
The plaintiffs, Woodhull Freedom Foundation, Human Rights Watch, The Internet Archive, Alex Andrews, and Eric Koszyk, have been challenging the law since it was enacted in 2018. The...
Twitter Has a New Owner. Here’s What He Should Do.
April 25, 2022, 7:40 PM
Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter highlights the risks to human rights and personal safety when any single person has complete control over policies affecting almost 400 million users. And in this case, that person has repeatedly demonstrated that they do not understand the realities of platform policy at scale.
The core reality is this: Twitter and other social networks play an increasingly important role in social and political discourse, and have an increasingly important corollary responsi...
Our Fight To Prevent Patent Suits From Being Shrouded in Secrecy
April 25, 2022, 5:01 PM
The public has a right to know what happens when companies litigate in publicly funded courts. Unfortunately, when it comes to patent cases, companies routinely ignore the public’s rights—for example, by filing entire documents under seal without making any attempt to justify that much secrecy. Even when courts have specific rules requiring justification for sealing requests and publicly filing redacted versions of sealed documents, parties can often defy them without consequence.
Victory! Maryland Legislature Says Police Must Now Be Trained To Recognize Stalkerware
April 22, 2022, 7:00 PM
Maryland's legislature has unanimously passed a bill that will require law enforcement agencies to learn, as part of their standard training, to recognize the common tactics of electronic surveillance and the laws around such activities. This victory will help provide survivors of domestic abuse, intimate partner violence, and other electronic stalking with much-needed support. The bill, S.B. 134, passed unanimously through the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates. EFF thanks this bill's a...
Stop Forced Arbitration in Data Privacy Legislation https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2022/04/stop-forced-arbitration-data-privacy-legislation
April 19, 2022, 6:37 PM
People who want their day in court should be able to have it. That's why EFF has long opposed forced arbitration agreements—agreements that require people to resolve conflicts without going to court—because they place unfair limits on one’s ability to exercise their fundamental rights. Too often, they also act as a get-out-of-jail-free card for companies.
There is a growing recognition that forced arbitration agreements impede the defense of fundamental rights. The U.S. Supreme Court hears...
Scraping Public Websites (Still) Isn’t a Crime, Court of Appeals Declares
April 19, 2022, 4:14 PM
Reiterating its prior common-sense opinion, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in hiQ v. LinkedIn that the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act likely does not bar scraping data from a public website against the wishes of the website owner. Last year, after the Supreme Court decided its first CFAA case, Van Buren v. United States, it vacated the Ninth Circuit’s original ruling in hiQ and sent it back to court of appeals for reconsideration. According to the Ninth Circuit, Van Buren only “reinf...
Mobile MitM: Intercepting Your Android App Traffic On the Go
April 18, 2022, 7:14 PM
Note: This post provides technical guidance only. Testing described in this post is done at the reader’s own risk and should only be conducted on devices and networks that you have permission to test on.
In order to audit the privacy and security practices of the apps we use on a daily basis, we need to be able to inspect the network traffic they are sending. An app asking for permission to your location may only use it to send it to your friends, or it may be tracking your every ...
California May Require Low-Cost Broadband from Subsidized Networks
April 18, 2022, 6:40 PM
Through the pandemic, the state of California passed a number of bills that resulted in a once-in-a-generation, multi-billion dollar investment to solve the digital divide. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), in response, initiated a proceeding to explore the rules, expectations, and standards necessary to turn available funds into real infrastructure that benefits Californias for decades to come.
In a recent proposed decision the CPUC established a bare minimum offering of $40...
Let's Encrypt Wins Levchin Prize For Work On Internet Security
April 15, 2022, 3:41 PM
Let’s Encrypt is part of the effort to encrypt the entire internet as a means of maximizing privacy and security online. SAN FRANCISCO—Let’s Encrypt—a project of the nonprofit Internet Security Research Group (ISRG), which is supported by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and other sponsors—won the prestigious international Levchin Prize for significant contributions to real-world cryptography.
Let’s Encrypt is part of the effort to encrypt the entire internet as a means of ma...
Civil Liberties Groups Urge Social Media Platforms to Better Protect Free Flow of Information in Crisis Zones
April 13, 2022, 3:56 PM
Russia's Invasion of Ukraine Underscores Need to Plan for Emergencies and Treat All Crisis Zones Even-HandedlySAN FRANCISCO—Whether in Ukraine or in other crisis zones around the globe, social media platforms have a duty to ensure that people have access to the free flow of life-saving information, according to a statement issued today by 31 international human rights and civil liberties organizations, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).
“As a global community of civil s...
EFF and Partners to Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals: Retaliatory Investigation of Twitter Chills First Amendment Rights
April 12, 2022, 9:02 PM
Censorship doesn’t always look like a black line across a document, or a clear order to remove a piece of content. Websites feel pressured without the government having to issue a clear directive that they host certain speakers or carry certain content. The First Amendment recognizes that speech can often be ‘chilled’ in other ways–for example, by a burdensome governmental investigation. In an amicus brief filed yesterday, EFF, the Center for Democracy and Technology, and R Street, urged...
Podcast Episode: Making Hope, with Adam Savage
April 12, 2022, 8:19 AM
The joy of tinkering, making, and sharing is part of the human condition. In modern times, this creative freedom too often is stifled by secrecy as a means of monetization - from non-compete laws to quashing people’s right to repair the products they’ve already paid for.
Adam Savage—the maker extraordinaire best known from the television shows MythBusters and Savage Builds—is an outspoken advocate for the right to repair, to tinker, and to put creativity and innovation to work in your ow...
The Catalog of Carceral Surveillance: Tablet Advertising That Can Also Issue Discipline
April 7, 2022, 8:43 PM
This post is part of our series "The Catalog of Carceral Surveillance: Exploring the Future of Incarceration Technology." You can read more about the role of patents in our post, “The Catalog of Carceral Surveillance: Patents Aren't Products (Yet).”
Imagine you've been arrested and are sitting in county lock-up. You need to make arrangements for bail, a lawyer, and a caretaker for your kids or pets. Maybe you need someone to bring your prescription or you need to talk to your AA sponsor. On ...
Brighter Stars and Persistent Gaps Mark New Paraguay’s “Who Defends Your Data” Report
April 7, 2022, 2:00 PM
Paraguay’s leading broadband service providers last year upped their commitments to users to be transparent about their privacy policies and to adopt accessibility practices, but most fell short on disclosing information about government requests seeking their data, according to the new edition of TEDIC’s ¿Quién Defiende Tus Datos? (“Who Defends Your Data).
The report reveals a troubling trend among Paraguayan internet and telecommunications providers: most don’t publish reports with s...
The Latest Threat to Independent Online Creators Is the Filter Mandate Bill
April 6, 2022, 6:42 PM
Copyright filters are having a bit of a moment in Washington D.C. The Copyright Office is moving ahead with a process to determine what, if anything, constitutes a standard technical measure (STM) that platforms would have to accommodate. And, if that proves too onerous, Congress has Big Content’s back with the Strengthening Measures to Advance Rights Technologies Copyright Act.
This filter mandate bill would task the Copyright Office with designating technical measures (DTMs instead of STMs) ...
Google Fights Dragnet Warrant for Users’ Search Histories Overseas While Continuing to Give Data to Police in the U.S.
April 5, 2022, 10:26 PM
Google is fighting back against a Brazilian court order to turn over data on all users who searched for specific terms, including the name of a well-known elected official and a busy downtown thoroughfare. (Brief in Portuguese / English*) While we applaud Google for challenging this digital dragnet search in Brazil, it must also stand up for the rights of its users against similar searches in the U.S. and elsewhere.
Background: Keyword Search Warrants
Keyword search warrants like the one in Braz...
Podcast Episode: Your Tax Dollars At Work
April 5, 2022, 8:09 AM
Democracy means allowing everyday people to have their voices heard on public matters involving their communities. One of the goals of civic technology is to allow a more diverse group of people to have input on government affairs through the use of technology and the internet.
Beth Noveck, author of Solving Public Problems and Director of the Governance Lab, chats with EFF's Cindy Cohn and Danny O'Brien about how civic technology can enhance people's relationship with the government and help ...
Anatomy of an Android Malware Dropper
April 4, 2022, 10:20 PM
Recently at EFF’s Threat Lab, we’ve been focusing a lot on the Android malware ecosystem and providing tools for its analysis. We’ve noticed lot of samples of Android malware in the tor-hydra family have surfaced, masquerading as banking apps to lure unsuspecting customers into installing them. In this post, we will take an example of one such sample and analyze it using open-source tools available to anyone.
At a Glance
The sample we’ll be looking at was first seen on March 1st, 2022. T...
The NDO Fairness Act Is an Important Step Towards Transparency
April 4, 2022, 9:29 PM
The First Amendment guarantees the right to speak your own involvement about court proceedings. Yet the Stored Communications Act currently allows the government to prevent electronic communications companies from notifying their users when they receive law enforcement orders for customer data. These gag orders can silence the companies for any period that a court deems appropriate—even indefinitely, sometimes with no fixed end date at all. This leaves the targets of the collection and the bro...
Day of Action for Antitrust: Our Rights Are Tied to Having Choices
April 4, 2022, 4:59 PM
Today, EFF joins a diverse coalition of civil society and tech companies to call on Congress to pass strong anti-monopoly rules for the Internet. We do this because it has long been EFF’s belief that users have the right to make their own choices—and the current state of Big Tech has taken many of our choices from us.
Join the Day of Action
Tell Congress to support competition
We live in a world that increasingly requires us to be online. The promise of all this technology was that barriers ...
California: Speak Up For Biometric and Student Privacy
April 1, 2022, 10:16 PM
California has shown itself to be a national privacy leader. But there is still work to do. That’s why EFF is proud to sponsor two bills in this year’s legislature—both with the co-sponsorship of Privacy Rights Clearinghouse—that would strengthen privacy protections in the state. These bills are focused on two particularly pernicious forms of data collection. Both will be heard on April 5 in the California Senate Judiciary Committee, and we’re asking Californians to tell committee mem...
Public.Resource.Org Can Keep Freeing the Law: Court Allows Posting Public Laws And Regulations Online
April 1, 2022, 6:02 PM
Private entities lose bid to control and profit from how we learn about the lawSAN FRANCISCO—As part of its ongoing work to ensure that people can know and understand the laws they live under, Public.Resource.org, a nonprofit organization, on Thursday vindicated its ability to publicly post important laws online in standard formats, free of copy protections and cumbersome user interfaces.
The win for Public Resource—represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) with co-counsel Fenw...
Dream Job Alert: EFF Seeks a Lawyer with Patent and Copyright Experience
March 31, 2022, 11:32 PM
We’ve got an amazing opportunity for a litigator to join EFF’s legal team. If you have experience and interest in patent policy or litigation and want to represent the public interest in patent and copyright policy, we want to hear from you.
EFF has always stood up for the freedom to innovate and learn. When the U.S. patent system doesn’t promote those freedoms, we step in to fight back. Just take a look at some of our work in 2021:
We fought in court for transparency and open records...
Colombian ISPs Show Steady Commitments to User Privacy But Key Transparency Gaps Remain
March 31, 2022, 6:50 PM
Colombia’s top internet and cell phone companies continued to maintain a high level of transparency about their privacy practices, and continued to implement best practices to protect customer data, free expression, and security in 2021. But they faced challenges from the impacts of COVID-19 and pressure to inform users about government spying on mobile phone communications, according to a new report released today by Fundacion Karisma, Colombia’s leading digital rights organization. ¿Dón...
Digital Rights Updates with EFFector 34.2
March 30, 2022, 8:09 PM
Want the latest news on your digital rights? Well, you're in luck! Version 34, issue 2 of our EFFector newsletter is out now. Catch up on the latest EFF news by reading our newsletter or listening to the new audio version below. This issue covers stories from our opposition of the new SMART Copyright Act, to explaining the risks and cautions of messaging with Telegram if you are using the app in Russia or Ukraine.
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EFFECTOR 34.02 - Corporate Media wants Copyright Law to R...
Podcast Episode: Securing the Internet of Things
March 29, 2022, 8:18 AM
Today almost everything is connected to the internet - from your coffeemaker to your car to your thermostat. But the “Internet of Things” may not be hardwired for security. Window Snyder, computer security expert and author, joins EFF hosts Cindy Cohn and Danny O’Brien as they delve into the scary insecurities lurking in so many of our modern conveniences—and how we can change policies and tech to improve our security and safety.
Window Snyder is the founder and CEO of Thistle Technologi...
The Pro Codes Act Is a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
March 28, 2022, 10:26 PM
When a pipeline bursts, journalists might want to investigate whether the pipeline complied with federal regulations. When a toy is recalled, parents want to know whether its maker followed child safety rules. When a fire breaks out, homeowners and communities want to know whether the building complied with fire safety regulations. Online access to safety regulations helps make that review – and accountability – possible. But a new dangerous and deceptive bill will undermine existing efforts...
An EFF Investigation: Mystery GPS Tracker On A Supporter’s Car
March 28, 2022, 6:00 PM
Being able to accurately determine your location anywhere on the planet is a useful technological trick. But when tracking isn’t done by you, but to you—without your knowledge or consent—it’s a violation of your privacy. That’s why at EFF we’ve long fought against dragnet surveillance, mobile device tracking, and warrantless GPS tracking.
Several weeks ago, an EFF supporter brought her car to a mechanic, and found a mysterious device wired into her car under her driver's seat. This s...
The Public Has a Right to Know How DHS is Spending Millions to Spy on Immigrants on Social Media
March 28, 2022, 5:42 PM
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has offered no transparency about its multi-million dollar program of spying on immigrants’ and other foreign visitors’ social media posts, which it uses as evidence in deportations and visa denials.
We want to change that, so we sued DHS today under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for records about the Visa Lifecycle Vetting Initiative (VLVI). We want to know what VLVI does, how it works, and what information DHS is gathering.
The lawsuit, f...
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