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Big (And Little) Brother: Listening To You

“CELL SITE SIMULATION” A DANGEROUS NEW SPY TOOL … || By FITSNEWS ||  What’s more secret than “double secret probation?”  Cell site simulation: A.k.a. the government’s preferred method of hacking into your cell phone. The subject of an expansive story in Sunday’s editions of The New York Times, cell site…

“CELL SITE SIMULATION” A DANGEROUS NEW SPY TOOL …

|| By FITSNEWS ||  What’s more secret than “double secret probation?”  Cell site simulation: A.k.a. the government’s preferred method of hacking into your cell phone.

The subject of an expansive story in Sunday’s editions of The New York Times, cell site simulation is the process by which small, portable, suitcase size devices are used by local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to trick your not-so-smart phones into believing they are communicating with a cell phone tower.

Once intercepted, your gullible cell phone signal lets the police rife through your phone’s calls, emails, text messages and other data.

Scary, huh?  Of course its is … not to mention totally unconstitutional.  Or at least should be seeing as these interception devices – commonly known as Stingrays – not only gather cell phone information from the individual “suspect,” but from thousands of other mobile devices in the area.

What’s also scary?  The mandated secrecy surrounding the program …

According to the Times, law enforcement agencies which utilize Stingrays are forbidden from even discussing the devices.  In fact they must sign nondisclosure agreements prior to purchasing them – which has led to local governments approving costly contracts without even knowing what they are purchasing.

Another layer of hypocrisy, right?

Indeed … not to mention the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) oversees the program (and often provides funding for the devices via grants from the Department of Homeland Security).

According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), use of these devices is rampant … even though most states (including South Carolina) refuse to provide information on which agencies are using them.

“Federal and local law enforcement agencies are actively trying to conceal their use from public scrutiny, and we are continuing to push for transparency and reform,” the organization states on its webpage.

Good for them …

Americans have a right to be secure in their electronic communications … and devices which secretly collect their data without their consent (and without a warrant based on probable cause) are prima facie violations of their Fourth Amendment rights.

It’s as simple as that … or at least it should be.  Sadly, in the “land of the free” our freedoms have gone out the window as big government habitually abuses new technologies in an effort to spy on its citizens.

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50 comments

The Great Googily Moogily March 16, 2015 at 1:51 pm

Whats even scarrier is the NDA that police agencies have to sign in order to purchase one.

The police agencies arent even allowed to read the NDA before signing it, so they have no idea what they are agreeing to in the first place.

So we have an unconstitutional listening device, that the police are not allowed to talk about if they want to use, and they arent even sure why they arent allowed to talk about it other than a private company told them not to.

A PRIVATE COMPANY IS TELLING YOUR LAW ENFORCEMENT WHAT THEY ARE ALLOWED TO DO AND DONT EVEN GIVE IT TO THEM IN WRITING

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You Know My Name March 16, 2015 at 2:36 pm

It’s scary that police agencies (especially Chiefs and Sheriffs) are so desperate for new toys to play with and invade our privacy with, that they would agree to this kind of thing. Of course, more and more of them opt to become our “secret police” and hide their daily activities from the public by encrypting their radio traffic.

I am beginning to fear our police and military more than the criminals and terrorists.

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sparklecity March 16, 2015 at 8:33 pm

Don’t fear the military but DEFINATELY DON’T TRUST LAW ENFORCEMENT!!

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Mike at the Beach March 16, 2015 at 9:35 pm

There’s no such thing (even in the wacky US federal gov’t) as an NDA that the signatories can’t view. That’s just 007 silliness. There are, however, sometimes addenda referenced in the NDA which contain classified info (like, say, the technical specifications of listening devices).

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Victorious Secret March 16, 2015 at 2:00 pm

While I agree that this is not cool, it is a little foolish to scream about how this is blatantly unconstitutional when existing case law tends to interpret the fourth amendment otherwise.

“[E]ven if petitioner did harbor some subjective expectation of privacy, this expectation was not one that society is prepared to recognize as ‘reasonable.’ When petitioner voluntarily conveyed numerical information to the phone company and ‘exposed’ that information to its equipment in the normal course of business, he assumed the risk that the company would reveal the information to the police.”

Smith v. Maryland, 442 U.S. 735 (1979).

Of note, this exact case was used by the DOJ to justify the telephone metadata program just 2 years ago.

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Original Good Old Boy March 16, 2015 at 2:18 pm

Smith v. Maryland applies to phone numbers, not actual content. It is very much unconstitutional to capture content without a warrant. But since we don’t know the particulars of the what is being captured and how, we don’t know for sure whether it’s unconstitutional or not. My educated guess is that if everything were above board and constitutional, they wouldn’t feel the need to be so secretive about it.

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Victorious Secret March 16, 2015 at 2:48 pm

Agreed. Hence, my comment that the DOJ used this case to analogize one’s expectation of privacy (or lack thereof) when one makes an outgoing phone call in the telephone metadata program, which captured more than just numbers.

I agree this is not apples and apples. But you also admit that we don’t even know what exact data is compromised…ergo, my point that it was a little silly to scream with italics and caps about it being unconstitutional.

Our judicial branch stretches the limits of the 4A time and time again. Mandatory DNA testing now constitutional, etc. etc.

I would imagine many readers on this site have no idea that an officer does not even need probable cause to initiate a dog sniff of your car or person.

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shifty henry March 16, 2015 at 3:42 pm

Check out the recent article (last week?) about the Post Office having camera systems installed that tracked every person and vehicle visiting the post office. I think that was in Montana that someone noticed it. The camera was installed in one of those green covers that utility companies use.

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GrandTango March 16, 2015 at 3:28 pm

It’s a matter of trust.

All evidence proved that surveillance during the Bush Administration was doing nothing but trying to CATCH terrorists intent on killing Americans…Yet the media, and the whining-level ignorant liberal accused Bush of everything sinister and diabolical…

Now, ALL evidence (IRS, NSA) points to the fact that the Obama Administration, like the Clintons, want your personal information to punish you, if you are not in lock-step…

And we see very little resistance….

The ignorance of justice and righteousness — will result in a steep penalty…I just hope the punishment is meted out to those who brought it on themselves…while those of us who see…are able to be delivered by our adherence to morality…

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Rocky March 16, 2015 at 3:59 pm

So if the Republicans to it, it’s OK. If Dems do it, it’s diabolical. Yeah, so Nixonian of you. Since Nixon was such a liberal Democrat. Dumb @$$. Seriously, it must suck being you.

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GrandTango March 16, 2015 at 4:12 pm

Nixon’s Dead…and he PAID for someone else’s petty crime he wanted to help cover up…because Republicans would have convicted him, because they thought it was the just thing to do…

Can you give me an example of when the Democrats did the right thing in the face of ethics breaches regarding Obama or Clinton???

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Rocky Roberto Juan ... March 16, 2015 at 5:19 pm

Well first, you have to have ethics breaches – smart guy. They did the same thing that was done for Rove and others under Bush. They guy over the agency resigns. Like Roberto Carlos Juan Gonzalaz the Attorney General – I recall he resigned – not Bush. Or super-brain Rumsfeld – he resigned, not Bush, after totally screwing up in Iraq. Oh, but I guess you don’t remember that. Same way Lehrner resigned, the VA guy resigned. Get a grip silly head –

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GrandTango March 16, 2015 at 7:10 pm

No specific example. Just like I thought. ..

And resigning because the media badgers the H#!! out of you for working for an R is not an ethics violation? You’re a Dumb@$$…LMAO…its just another example of your corruption..

Buz Martin March 16, 2015 at 8:46 pm

Read that shit you wrote, GT. You just said it’s an ethics violation to resign because the media is badgering you. See why everybody thinks you’re a drooling idiot? You can’t even present your warped arguments in anything approaching a coherent fashion. Half the time, what you write reads like a transcription of an extremely angry autistic 10-year-old who is half-deaf, as he tries to re-state political commentary heard on a very weak-signal AM broadcast by Rush Limbaugh.

GrandTango March 17, 2015 at 5:30 am

Feeble attempt at an insult. Still no example of legitimate Bush ethics violations

Everyone v You March 17, 2015 at 8:31 am

Firing attorney general’s for polical favors to corrupt Senators, DOJ hiring practices that resulted in senior DOJ officials resigning (all of which ended career of Roberto Carlito Juanito Gonzalas, use of RNC email addressses for official White House business, outing covert CIA field officer, White House employee Mr. Allen arrested when trying to return shop lifted items to a local Target (that was weird), Dept of Interior folks banging gas executives, missing $12 billion in Iraq, Lorita Doan using her position as chair of Gen Admin Services to illegally push employees to help elect Republicans. Shall we continue, or have we given you enough to Google for the next 10 weeks. Moron!!! $#)%*#$)(!!!!

GrandTango March 17, 2015 at 8:52 am

You’re Full of $#It. The president has the TOTAL legal Right to appoint his OWN AGs. The media manufactured that as a scandal.

Clinton FIRED H.W. Bush’s AG immediately after he was elected. It’s why we had to endure Pete Strom. That’s how Democrats roll. Obama appointed Bill Nettles in SC. They did not keep Bush’s AG in SC. Dumb@$$…

EVERY administration has the right to hire people who understand their policy goals. The GOP has F*#ked up and let WAY too many Democrat operatives stay in government positions. It’s how you Get traitors like Valerie Plame and the liberal Joe Wilson. Those B@$t@rds should have had their @$$#s kicked to the curb on Day 1.

Shoplifting???…Are you THAT F*#king Stupid to compare Benghazi or IRS persecution to shoplifting, which I’m sure was prosecuted, if it happened…

You STRUCK out you IGNORANT F*#king Liberal…You have NOTHING….But an extraordinary ability to show how F*#king Stupid you, and the Democrats, are…

Rocky March 17, 2015 at 9:58 am

No I didn’t. You’re a moron who refuses to accept facts. I bet you were in love with Joe Wilson in 1990 when he was telling Saddam to shove it. Outing a covert operative is illegal – and Bush’s administration did it. Val was not a traitor – that you attack her instead of the facts just shows how weak and full of crap you are. As always. You didn’t address Doan, another ethics violation. You didn’t address the Interior folks banging energy executives on the side. You didn’t address the DOJ hiring practices that were found to be violations of Equal Opportunity laws. You gloss over any fact that shows you’re a lying piece of pig dung. As always. You’re as predictable as a smelly dump after a night of hot wings and beer. Only we can always flush that. And what’s worse, you only act this way because our calling you out on it gets you all excited because apparently, you don’t get enough attention in real life.

GrandTango March 17, 2015 at 10:16 am

Stuff it Dumb@$$. The “ethics” bull-S#!t you’re peddling are individual missteps that are not epidemic, like the TOTALLY and wide-scale corrupt Obama Administration…

What you’re p!$$!ing and moaning about w/ Bush is not even as bad as the Secret Service scandal, and all the lavish agency parities that do not even get mentioned by most media w/ Obama…

All you really do, in pushing this crap as scandal under Bush, is to show what a MAJOR F*#king double-standard you liberals enjoy..and how you can collapse the country…and get away with it…while selling the GOP as the anti-Christ for governing responsibly…

Rocky March 17, 2015 at 10:51 am

Discrediting the accusations is the standard ploy for you. You wanted scandals, I gave them to you. And you’re reaction is – “they’re not scandals.” You’re no better than Hillary Clinton and her email scandal. Wish it goes away and bury your head in the sand. Can’t respond with facts, you just say it didn’t happen. Like I guess Iraq was a huge success and Baghdad was a city of peace and love in January 2009 when 200 Iraqis were killed by car bombs. And the monthly average in 2008 was 800 a month. But now, six years later, you’re live in la-la land. You hide from the truth like a bat hides from daylight.

GrandTango March 17, 2015 at 11:24 am

Those are not scandals Dumb@$$…like all liberals you gave nothing, but a gander at how empty and stupid you are…

Rocky March 17, 2015 at 12:16 pm

Illegal hiring practices at the DOJ is indeed a scandal. Calling people names isn’t an argument stupid – it’s just offensive. Which, you know you are. It just proves how intellectually out-gunned you are. But of that we had little doubt. Drep. Your Mom called, she said come upstairs for your Spagetti-os.

GrandTango March 17, 2015 at 12:34 pm

Fail much???….LMAO…

Buz Martin March 17, 2015 at 10:23 am

Feeble? Maybe. You’re not worth a serious attempt. Besides which, another commenter has done the heavy lifting, describing quite accurately the exact formula for your constant trolling.

I give no example of “legitimate Bush ethics violation” because that does not interest me. I was a total hawk on Iraq. I make no apologies for that. I still believe there were some weapons of mass destruction, but that most had been transferred to Syria. I believe that Sadaam was not told the truth about this by his generals. I believe that Powell and others honestly believed the WMD existed in Iraq. Sorry if this does not square with your warped projections on me. I don’t heap all blame on Bush for how things have gone down, at all. Many Democrats have contributed.

I merely pointed out, accurately, that SOME Bush policies have led to the overweening militarization of state and local LE, and to a vast overreach of GOVERNMENT (not just DEMOCRATS) regarding our private communications. Democrats, in fact, contributed to creating and supporting those policies. Those policies could have just as easily been instituted under Clinton or Obama, given similar circumstances.

That is all I ever needed to say about Bush. Your obsessions are none of my concern.

GrandTango March 17, 2015 at 11:00 am

You’re a Full of $#!t media-led idiot…

You assail Bush for an over-reach, yet you Cannot give One Example of a person affected by it. When there are many INDIVIDUALS who are SPECIFICALLY targeted by Obama, based on his political hatred…

Also: while you blame Bush and the Democrats “for how things have gone down.” Please give me a clear example of something Bush did to make “things have gone down”….
It’s simple-thinking and manipulated minds, like yours, that allow liberal-media clichés to flourish. You believe s#!t based on what they tell you to think.
You are – like so-many claimed Liberal-Tarians – the reason there is such confusion, and a lack of moral clarity in the debate.
Liberals have been deemed unfit based on the damage they do…so their only chance is to trick Dumb@$$#$ like you into believing ‘THEY ALL DO IT’…

When, as you prove…there is not evidence of that. Democrats, and Democrats alone, F*#k it up…But that’s hard to discern because of Dolts like you and FITS…

Rocky March 17, 2015 at 12:22 pm

“yet you Cannot give One Example of a person affected by it” – Maher Arar – Canadian citizen detained during a layover at JFK in September 2002 on his way home from a family vacation in Tunis. Held without charges in the United States for nearly two weeks, questioned, and denied access to a lawyer. Deported to Syria. He was detained in Syria for almost a year, during which time he was tortured. The Syrian government later stated that Arar was “completely innocent.” So there dumb@$$ – would seem he was affected by the over reach. Don’t you think? Oh wait, stupid question.

GrandTango March 17, 2015 at 12:33 pm

LMAO…WTF are your hallucinating about…Dumb@$$…

Point: if you stand up to F*#king idiot liberals, instead of appeasing them…they become unhinged in their delusions of idiocy…(see Rocky)….Hahahaha…

That’s priceless bro. You are true Dolt…thanks for the laugh…

Flip March 17, 2015 at 12:55 pm

You’re a complete moron. You wanted facts, cases, instances. You get them, you ignore them. You are the perfect example of an idiot. How’s it look up your @$$, because it seems that’s where you keep your head.

GrandTango March 17, 2015 at 1:41 pm

You’re used to people believing your ignorant Bull-S#!t…I suppose….LMAO…

Buz Martin March 17, 2015 at 4:53 pm

If I assailed Bush, said assailment was pretty damned close to being faint praise. I was never a Bush hater and still am not one, as I said. He was much more down to earth and in touch with the people than his dad. Just a regular guy. He suffered from being advised by communists, though. Wolfowitz, Kristol Sr., and the other neo-con movement founders were all Trotskyite commies. That is until they saw that the worldwide communist and socialist movements were trending against their hyper-aggressive interventionist, nation-building ways, and jumped to the GOP.

You like those guys, Lawrence? No, you love them.

You’re a commie-lover,man. Maybe even a commie. I sure would not trust you with any power in government. Commie.

Buz Martin March 16, 2015 at 4:03 pm

It’s the federal government. It would be the same if Romney had won. It will be the same if Jeb Bush wins, if Hillary Clinton wins, or whoever. The federal government is out of control. btw, if Lindsey Graham would become POTUS, he’d use this shit to spy on congress so he could force them to vote for more and more war powers and war spending to keep his fat cat neocon and war profiteer buddies richer than God.

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GrandTango March 16, 2015 at 4:08 pm

Now was it the Bushes conducting the IRS scandal???…What about the harvesting of Raw FBI files???

Show me your knowledge, and give me the details of who did those???…since EVERYBODY abuses the need to investigate…

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Buz Martin March 16, 2015 at 4:44 pm

It’s not about what has or has not been done previously. It’s about what is now established. Jeb would not roll this back. Neither would Clinton. It would be too useful to either of them. Try to follow a point, for once in your life.

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GrandTango March 16, 2015 at 5:02 pm

So you have NO specific examples of Bush doing it…yet you walk around the ignorance-based cliche “everybody Does it”…

While Obama and Democrats pat you on back like the good little mockingbird you are…..and laugh at your Dumb @$$ behind your back…

Buz Martin March 16, 2015 at 8:31 pm

As I stated, it’s not really about who did or did not do what. Though it coudl be argued that what Bush started with the “War On Terror” has metastasized into these gross examples of government overreach at every level. Which includes, fool, state and local governments run by Republicans. That may be a bitter pill for you, but you know it’s true. You also know it’s true that the only GOP candidate for POTUS who would tell those state and local officials they should no longer use these measures in Rand Paul. He’s the only one who would dare to run in opposition to them, and the only one who would dare to seek to dismantle them if he wins. Try all you might to warp what I said into something else, that’s it, bucko. That’s the name o’ that tune.

GrandTango March 17, 2015 at 5:32 am

“Everybody Does It”…Yet you have NO specific example of Bush doing it..and there are many of Obama and the Clintons ethical breaches….

Now do you understand why you are seen as a mindless cliche? And you have lots of company (see FITS)…

mamatiger92 March 16, 2015 at 4:10 pm

Obama may not be the best politician, but he kicked your @$$. It would likely be healthy to accept that.

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GrandTango March 16, 2015 at 5:05 pm

So you’re admitting he uses personal data for political purposes…

Even though you did it because you’re an idiot…it’s a step forward.

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Taking Candy from a Baby March 16, 2015 at 7:01 pm

Kicking GrandTango’s ass isn’t hard, GrandTango kicks his own ass every time he opens his mouth.

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Not the decider March 16, 2015 at 5:18 pm

Wait. I thought Obama was aloof and out playing golf everyday. Now he personally collects everybody’s information to use against us? Quit flip flopping.

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snickering March 16, 2015 at 4:46 pm

I reckon it’s still safe to listen to the Big and Young Women. Probably because women and little women generally don’t listen and don’t care.

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Krazy Kat March 16, 2015 at 5:29 pm

* sigh* Grand Tango–the reason we can’t have nice things.

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ELCID March 16, 2015 at 6:37 pm

This technique has been around for decades. As a telecommunications and infrastructure engineer, I find it humorous that people don’t understand. That when you communicate thru the open air over a radio, shortwave, walkie talkie, or cell phone; that all your conversations are “Free Range.” It means, they are freely open to anyone with a transmitter or receiver that wants to listen in, or transceiver your call. It’s all open and debatable if any of it is illegal.

Some of these battles were fought years ago. Some people got sued by the television and CATV companies for receiving their signals thru the air and supposedly illegally using them for their own purposes. The debate was whether anything coming on to your property was available for your use. The debate has been won in the past by the deepest pockets to pay for the fight. But, it still goes on, and the Feds obviously have the deepest pockets of all.

Just don’t ever say anything over an open cell telephone call that you don’t want heard by the general public.

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Jethro March 16, 2015 at 7:20 pm

Heck ELCID is right. With a cheap radio frequency scanner you can listen in on cell phone conversations. The only court case that I think can be made is whether these devices are comparable to the old fashioned cable TV “descramblers” that people used to make in their garages. If the government allows these fake cell towers, why can’t South Carolina prisons use cell tower jammers? This would alleviate unlawful cell phones within prisons. Just post signs within and near prisons that state cell phone jammers in use? Besides, I think someone already said this, if you don’t want what you have to say or text or email to be made public maybe you shouldn’t say it. Least not until you are fave to face anyway.

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ELCID March 16, 2015 at 7:42 pm

Very good points.
I even suggested the prison cell phone jammers a decade ago to one of my friends at the prison system management. He sent the suggestion up, and it was knocked down as a possible interference with other legal cell phone traffic. I was able to explain how I could keep it within the prison property. They still didn’t get it. I just think that the technology to do this was beyond the Prison Systems knowledge base.

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sparklecity March 16, 2015 at 8:36 pm

Seems like i read in the papers a year or two ago, SC prisions WERE utilizing jammers and the courts were OK with that.

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The Colonel March 17, 2015 at 9:17 am

Just the opposite, SC has an open request to the FCC to allow cell phone jamming – so far to no avail.

An effort by the state to include “cell phones” on the official list of contraband: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/sess120_2013-2014/prever/1093_20140417.htm

Here’s some of the crap prisoners do from prison that is a little less innocous: http://charlestonthuglife.net/2015/02/way-off-base/

Here’s one example of why they need to be confiscated and jammed: http://www.wistv.com/story/21443381/former-sc-prison-guard-suing-cellphone-companies

shifty henry March 16, 2015 at 8:31 pm

—-or your Mother..!!

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Jolly Roger March 17, 2015 at 12:12 pm

Does it really matter? Who cares? If you are not doing anything illegal what the hell are they gonna hear? “I’ll be late for dinner” “Please pick up the dry cleaning” if you are a criminal, then you should worry, yes they can listen to you. Otherwise you should not care if some government agency wants to listen in on your boring ass life.

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Todd March 17, 2015 at 10:13 pm

Gee if we banned the use of these then the Feds would have to … um …. just go ask Google and Apple for the data. Don’t kid yourself that privacy exists anymore.

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