Illinois Librarians Plan Internet Shutdown

Denise Varenhorst, President Family Friendly Libraries writes "

Illinois State Senators have been contacted by Family Friendly Libraries to alert them about the planned public library Internet Shutdown.

Librarians across Illinois are planning to SHUT DOWN INTERNET ACCESS AT LOCAL LIBRARIES and distribute political fliers to library patrons on May 14th, 2007. attempt to build opposition to the Internet Filtering Bill 1727

Senators have been informed taht local libraries are posting their specific protest plan and their own contact information on the Internet, and they can see what their local library is planning at www.illinoislibraryday.info Click on "Message Board"; for complete list of protest plans.

Family Friendly Libraries believes that local librarians have NO RIGHT TO DENY LIBRARY USERS SERVICES they have paid for simply because of the librarians' political views."

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hmmm....

"Family Friendly Libraries believes that local librarians have NO RIGHT TO DENY LIBRARY USERS SERVICES they have paid for simply because of the librarians' political views.""Local librarians believe that Family Friendly Libraries have NO RIGHT TO DENY LIBRARY USERS SERVICES they have paid for simply because of the FFL's political views."I applaud them.

Teens will be annoyed at their library

A substantial segment of teens use the library internet connection to play games. They will be annoyed at the Illinois librarys' political statement by denying internet access.

Re:Teens will be annoyed at their library

I am sick and tired of hearing "it's about the children".

Wot a bunch of utter gimboids

This hypocrisy was so funny that I laughed out loud.

It's kind of hard to decide what to make of useless shits that bitch and piss and whine and moan about unmonitored internet access for adults, and who then scream hysterically when faced with no internet access for anybody.

Here's a clue you pack of festering morons: cutting off the 'net completely is not unconstitutional in that it does not discriminate among users. 'Course, there's still access to information issues involved, but that's a separate issue and one you can't win on either.

Disgusting

To deny patrons access to the internet to further their political aims is abhorent. These librarians discredit the profession. I am ashamed to be associated with them through our common profession.

Re:Disgusting

To deny patrons access to the internet to further their political aims is abhorent.

To regulate the internet surfing of others to further their political aims is abhorent. These religious fanatics discredit all of humanity. I am ashamed that they are members of the human race.

Re:Disgusting

Tired? Normally you go for the librarians defending pornography angle. Maybe you will feel better after some sleep.

Re:hmmm....

If you can make the case that online porn is a library service I'll agree with you.

Re:Wot a bunch of utter gimboids

What a compelling and articulate response Fang-Face!

Can anyone please tell me how providing Internet pornography for adults or children in public libraries is somehow beneficial for the communities they serve?

No resident wants a family member rubbing shoulders in their local library with another person who has recently viewed sexually stimulating images on the Internet. It is interesting to note that while the ALA and the ILA oppose Internet filtering, parents and law enforcement officials strongly support it.

And don't tell me that filtering technology doesn't work -- tell that to your friends at the ACLU, who had an expert argue before a Federal District Court (in ACLU v. Gonzales, March 2007) that filters are about 95 percent effective in blocking unwanted sites, while providing full access to legitimate websites. The Judge agreed!

Internet filtering technology would help clean up communities and protect children and families from being exposed to harmful images in their neighborhood public library. Government, at every level, has a compelling interest here, especially as it pertains to children.

c'mon now

There is no one here who believes that porn is a necessary service. No one has said it either. The anti-filtering objection is that filters capriciously and secretly block legal and important information, a situation which is anathama to our professional obligations.

From www.eff.org, the Electronic Frontier Foundation:

For every web page blocked as advertised, blocking software blocks one or more web pages inappropriately, either because the web pages are miscategorized or because the web pages, while correctly categorized, do not merit blocking.

Schools that implement Internet blocking software even with the least restrictive settings will block at a minimum tens of thousands of web pages inappropriately, either because the web pages are miscategorized or because the web pages, while correctly categorized, do not merit blocking.

Blocking software products miscategorized many of the web pages they block—
assigning the wrong block codes to between a third and a half of the web pages related to state-mandated curriculums blocked depending on the blocking software.

Of all pages related to state-mandated curriculums blocked by blocking products, the products blocked only 1-3% of those web pages to CIPA’s criteria for blocking visual depictions of illegally obscenity, child pornography, or harmful to minors content. That means that of the web pages related to state-mandated curriculums, blocking software products blocked 97-99% of the web pages blocked using non-standard, discretionary, and potentially illegal criteria beyond what is required by CIPA.

And the other side of it ...

For any web page that contained three or more of the target words, the researchers examined the web page against the legal standard provided by CIPA and found 11 total occurrences of nine web pages for which CIPA would likely would require blocking, three missed by N2H2 Bess and eight missed by SurfControl. The researchers also found a total of 34 web pages that would require blocking if non-visual depictions were included, 17 for N2H2 Bess and 17 for SurfControl.

However, the researchers did not even attempt to search for “visual depictions†of pornography and, as mentioned by the court declaring CIPA unconstitutional for libraries: “This is of critical importance, because CIPA, by its own terms, covers only ‘visual depictions.’ 20 U.S.C. §9134(f)(1)(A)(i); 47 U.S.C. §254(h)(5)(B)(i).â€

There is no substitute for our professional judgment and we should never abdicate that responsibility to anyone or anything.

professional judgement? Re:c'mon now

Unless you're suddenly arguing to improve filtering instead of getting rid of it altogether then there is no professional judgement only abdication.

Re:hmmm....

If you can make a case that nut ball organizations like Safe Libraries and Familly Friendly Libraries should be making choices for me then I might agree with you. This is just the normal cheap way to make headlines without doing anything substantial. Any legislator that signs on looks like he is protecting the children. God save the children from pornography.

Re:Wot a bunch of utter gimboids

Oh here we go simplify the argument. Thats how this works reduce it to the simplest terms like pornography and then paint it as a black and white concept. Why can't you drones handle logic that's a little more involved than a Venn Diagram?

Re:Wot a bunch of utter gimboids

Are you going to offer an argument, or just going to make a self-righteous platitude?

Re:professional judgement? Re:c'mon now

Pardon?

Re:hmmm....

. . . make the case that online porn is a library service . . .

Simple pornography is protected speech, and providing access to protected speech is a library service. I believe the term you are looking for is proscribable obscenity. The way in which you are using the term "porn" is in the manner of the ultra-self-righteous and easily offended, who use it to mean anything that sets off their hypersensitivities. Again: Where's Waldo and Michaelangelo's David.

Re:Wot a bunch of utter gimboids

Can anyone please tell me how providing Internet pornography for adults or children in public libraries is somehow beneficial for the communities they serve?

Well, Dave, the issue at heart here is not pornography so much as censormorons using the "We Must Protect The Children" mantra as an excuse to control what you are allowed to look at. Keep in mind that public libraries are punished with a loss of federal funding if they do not put filters on computers that are reserved for use by adults only.

Secondly, there is the fact that the ultra-right wing cannot -- and would not if even if they could -- define pornography. Even the Miller test for proscribable osbcenity is subjective at bottom. As I mentioned elsewhere in this thread, the ultra-right simple calls everything they don't like pornography, and they do it so as to spread the widest possible censorial net over information they don't want disseminated. Factual human sexuality information is good example. Factual information about homosexuality is another.

Oh . . . and some of the web sites that were blocked by early versions of censorware were not about sexuality at all; some of them were the web sites of political officials who support personal liberty and freedom instead of a religious police state.

Re:hmmm....

"providing access to protected speech is a library service"

No... it isn't. "The best reading, for the largest number, at the least cost."

Re:Wot a bunch of utter gimboids

Fang-Face,

First, let me point out that censorship starts at the publisher's door -- not the distributor.

Secondly, we are talking about taxpayer funded speech -- and taxpayers have every right to define the speech they want to pay for, or stop for that matter. Perverts can find their smut elsewhere.

While liberals could care less about protecting the lives and safety of children, government has a compelling interest in doing so. Attacks on children in libraries by men who have been stimulated by Internet porn are well documented. Adults fondling themselves in plain view of others, including children have also been documented. See for yourself.

It is 2007 Fang-Face -- the ACLU recognizes that filtering software is a great solution to this problem -- why do you want to refer back antiquated technology?

Lastly, why can't liberals engage in honest debate without the hate mongering name calling. Really, "censormorons" is unnecessary.

Dave Smith

Red Herring Alert!

Red Herring Alert: forget the filters and see the real issue, folks.It doesn't matter whether one is for or against internet filters. A government agency has an obligation to fulfill the duties committed to it as those duties as prescribed at any given time. Government agencies can not pick and choose which rules they are going to follow. Appropriate leaders can attempt change rules and policies, they can assign and reassign taxpayer money through appropriate channels, but they can not, should not subject taxpayers and taxpayer money to political whims.If a particular library is prescribed by their own board-created budget and strategic plan to provide internet access, they must do so or they are in default of said budget and plan. The use of taxpayer money can not only not be used to further a political agenda, it can not be withheld to further an agenda.Library directors and librarians who wish to exercise free speech should do so appropriately. Citizens who wish to incorporate their beliefs should have the right to voice their opinions and attempt to change their environment.But imagine the chaos if members of the Social Security Administration, unsatisfied with a proposed policy, decided not to send checks one month in political protest. Who would starve among all those who would be fine? Imagine if Border Patrols decided to let everyone through one day, no questions asked, out of political protest. Who might get in among all those who won't harm us? Imagine National Parks Services making arbitrary changes to historical accounts to cater to political views (not such a far cry from reality - there are still many who claim the Holocaust didn't happen, for instance). How might they change history and the lessons we learn from it? Imagine if all those soldiers who disagree with Iraq chose not to fight. Perhaps it would end the war (some might say), but with what kind of military stability does it leave us? What would be the reprecussions of any similar event?We do often live on a slippery slope and it is feasible one issue can shake our foundation.This internet shut-down is nothing more than a Boston Tea Party. Honorable intentions or not, it is a slap in the face of the rules and system of government under which we live. After the Tea Party others followed their example. If librarians get away with this, who will follow their example and what might it impact next?Since when are librarians above the system? Can they not use their information skills to determine and follow a more appropriate course of action to achieve their goals? In trying to avoid a brave new world, they are simply creating their own version.I suggest politicians IMMEDIATELY make it abundantly clear there will be grim consequences for any library choosing this course of action.Imagine if we all acted above the rules each time we disagreed with them. Revolution, anyone?

POST OFFICE NOT DELIVERING MAIL TO BLACKS

Many poor neighborhoods are dangerous. Many african americans live in these neighborhoods. Postal carriers don't like going into dangerous areas. No mail service to blacks on Juneteenth to protest having to do their jobs.

Or passport office not serving Asians on Tuesdays because they don't like names that are hard to spell. DMV closing in October because they don't like speed limit laws.

Court clerks not accepting marriage license applications next Monday becuase lesbians can't get married in Texas.

Librarians don't like proposed law so they punish patrons by denying them access to computers.

See all of those are bullshite.

Re:Wot a bunch of utter gimboids

I have been out of the loop for a while and unable at this time, to read all the post. So I will begin with nice job Dave. I danced with Fang Face for awhile, but the conclusion that we must come to is this: The training and indoctrination of children, in public school systems and public libraries-- that have taken place over the years is proven successful by the Fang Faces of the world. Unfortunately there are many!

I have been out of the loop for a while and unable at this time, to read all the post. So I will begin with nice job Dave. I danced with Fang Face for awhile, but the conclusion that we must come to is this: The training and indoctrination of children, in public school systems and public libraries-- that have taken place over the years is proven successful by the Fang Faces of the world. Unfortunately there are many!

Books pertaining to sexuality along with the sex-ed school programs have basically convinced former teenagers--- like Fang --that humans are no more than simple animals, unable to control their lust. So their mentality is of such a nature that they become indignant when a moral people-- who was taught that we must control every thought and action--reminds them that freedoms are realized within boundaries or restrictions.

That reminds me of how many prisoners receive Christ and becomes set free within their incarceration. Said all that to say this…laws are made for a moral people. NOTHING MORAL about PORN…yet the Fangs of the world think we owe it to them!

Re:c'mon now

There is no one here who believes that porn is a necessary service. No one has said it either.Fang Face, LIS's most "communicative" (handle with gloves!) librarian does.

Re:Wot a bunch of utter gimboids

"And don't tell me that filtering technology doesn't work -- tell that to your friends at the ACLU, who had an expert argue before a Federal District Court (in ACLU v. Gonzales [uscourts.gov], March 2007) that filters are about 95 percent effective in blocking unwanted sites, while providing full access to legitimate websites. The Judge agreed!"False. Read the file you've linked to. It says that filters can be 95 percent effective in blocking sexually explicit sites (worth pointing out that this is not necessarily coextensive with "unwanted sites") -- but nowhere does it say that the filters do so while "providing full access to legitimate websites." Quite the contrary: it says that the filters blocked as much as 36% of websites that were not sexually explicit. (At one point the judge complains that a study exaggerates one filter's overblocking rate. He reasons that the study was concerned only with sexually explicit sites while the filter was configured to block more than just sexually explicit sites. True, the filter could not be configured any other way, but never mind that.)Then again, I suppose your claim depends entirely on the meaning you assign to "legitimate": after all, one person's breast cancer support page is another person's smut. You might say, "Well it provides full access to legitimate websites, because if the websites were legitimate they wouldn't be blocked." In this case you really ought to be happy. Because The Indiana librarians are for one day implementing a filter that will block 100% of all "unwanted sites," while providing full access to "legitimate" library resources. You just have to assign the proper meaning to "legitimate": it's them books there on them shelves. Problem solved.

protest

It's called a protest. It's supposed to be disruptive. They have the right to do as their conscience demands them.

You Can't Have It Both Ways

IF internet access in the public library is a right ....AND the public library is a government agency that operates under the Constitution and the Bill of Rights ...AND as per the Supreme Court, there is a right to receive information without prior restraint by the government ...THEN, in providing access to materials NOT PUBLISHED BY THE GOVERNMENT the public library cannot censor those materials on the basis of content unless the materials are "illegal" speech - speech that has been declared obscene, child pornography, or harmful to minors by a court of law.The recent COPA decision does not justify the use of filters in public libraries. In the COPA lawsuit, the court was trying to decide if the government's proposed regulation of sexually explicit materials on the Internet was justified because there were no other tools available to parents with children - PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS - who wished to protect their children from seeing such material. Because filters will block most - not all, but most - sexually explicit material (along with a wide swath of perfectly innocent stuff and politically sensitive stuff like pages about gay rights and sexual health) the court decided that there were tools available to parents who wish to self-censor on behalf of their families. As a result, the government restrictions imposed by COPA were not justified and had to be struck down under the stringent requirements of the First Amendment.That's a far different question than the one at hand here: whether a government funded institution whose mission is providing access to information can directly censor content by proxy through the use of filtering software developed by private corporations.HOWEVER... IF Internet access is not a right, but a privilege subject to any and all censorship at the whim of a taxpayer or two ...THEN the decision not to provide Internet access is nothing more than a collection development decision that is a perfectly permissible solution to the so-called problem of "porn in the library" that doesn't mean gutting the book budget to pay a private corporation to censor the Internet.

Re:Wot a bunch of utter gimboids

"Books pertaining to sexuality along with the sex-ed school programs have basically convinced former teenagers--- like Fang --that humans are no more than simple animals, unable to control their lust."Oh goodness, you're going to have to back that up with a source. Really. Come on.

Re:Red Herring Alert!

It doesn't matter whether one is for or against internet filters. A government agency has an obligation to fulfill the duties committed to it as those duties as prescribed at any given time. Government agencies can not pick and choose which rules they are going to follow.But you're saying that the government agency can pick and choose whether or not to conform to the Constitution and the First Amendment?One might say that the librarians are refusing to violate the First Amendment, fulfilling their duties under the Constitution.And the very argument of those promoting filters is that Internet access isn't a vital mission of the public library, so that it can be freely censored.

Re:Disgusting

In fact, to deny patrons access to vast swaths of the Internet to further the political aims of special interest groups or because of the moral disapproval of special interest groups is abhorrent.Librarians who censor materials based on the disapproval of one person or a special interest grop discredit the profession.

Re:You Can't Have It Both Ways

The CIPA decision does justify filters in libraries, just not for adults (something I'm fine with).

To drop Internet access permanently is a collection development decision, to do it for a day is political hijinks.

As for the gutting of book budgets: NetNanny $50 a station, one time only. That's a lot more reasonable then all the book budgets being stretched to include hot new DVDs, video games, and Dance Revolution programs.

Re:hmmm....

That sounds as if it is a mission statement, not a description of services provided.

In any event, in what way is protected speech not the best reading? Are the disfranchised living on the wrong side side of the digital divide not among the largest number? (Trick question, there Greg; in point of fact they constitute the largest number.) Does not requiring the unnecessary added expense of internet filtering fly in the face of the idea of "least cost"?

If not, to any of these questions: How not?

Re:You Can't Have It Both Ways

1) COPA (Children's Online Protection Act) isn't CIPA (Children's Internet Protection Act.)In the COPA lawsuit, the government argued that filters didn't work to block sexually explicit material on the Internet in order to justify and uphold direct regulation of sexually explicit material on the Internet. Those opposing the direct regulation of Internet content argued that filters are a jim-dandy censor's tool and work just fine for parents wanting to censor their children's Internet access, thereby eliminating the need for direct regulation by the government.In the CIPA lawsuit, the government argued that filters worked well enough because of the importance of protecting children and besides, adults could ask for the filter to be disabled, supposedly eliminating any First Amendment problems. Justice Kennedy warned, though, that if the library didn't make disabling quick and easy, the library faced potential legal liability through an as-applied lawsuit. That lawsuit is now a reality in Washington State. (Also note that all the justices emphasized that CIPA did not obligate libraries to filter - it was a condition placed on funding.)Certain comments made above argued that the COPA decision's endorsement of filters as a private tool for parents justifies the use of filters to censor the Internet in the public library. That conclusion is factually and legally wrong.2) I thought librarians had all the discretion in the world when it came to making collection development decisions about Internet access - or don't they? If they don't, and Internet access is a right that can't be denied to library users, then all the arguments advanced in favor of filtering are so much bunk. And as far as I can see, it's not wrong for a library board to demonstrate to the taxpayers the consequences of decisions made by the state legislature, so that taxpayers can communicate their preferences to their legislators.3) Multiply $50 by hundreds of stations in large systems, and you suddenly are spending $10,000 to get $6000 in CIPA funds -- not to mention the cost of staff time to maintain the system and implement unblocking policies, and not to mention the cost of fending off potential litigation and filing the paperwork for compliance, and not to mention the potential liability of librarians and library boards who are being asked to certify that the filter "works."Think of the materials that could be bought for $10,000 from the book purchasing budget that's already been pared to the bone, versus spending those funds on censorship. If I were a taxpaying patron, I'd rather spend money on actual materials - DVDs, books, serials - than on a piece of software that's only designed to impose a software developer's decisions about what's "appropriate" on me and my children.

won't somebody

Thank GOD someone here has the fortitude to THINK OF THE CHILDREN.Think of the children @ your library.Be a hilarious, hysterical, Puritanical humbug @ your library.Be a message board trolling Jesus Freak @ your library.Waste a lot of time, money and political capital because some 14 year old once saw some breasts @ your library.

Re:protest

They have an obligation -ethically, legally and professionally- to provide the service that the users pay for. They pay taxes, they get to use all of the library's services not just those the librarians(those who are paid from that same tax money) want them to use one particular day.

They have a right to stand outside the library on their off hours and hand out fliers. They have a right to write their editor, they have a right to call their legislators, they have a right to email people about it when not working, they have a right to make their voices heard.

However their right does not extend to the abrogation of the public's right, the taxpayer's right, the patron's right to use the services to which they are entitled. For a group that says they hold the patron's right to access information sacrosanct they are certainly violating their own professional code.

Re:Disgusting

You are confusing two issues. Filters emplaced by the library administration in response to the needs and desires of the community do not violate the tenets of the librarians professional code.

The librarians work for the people, and if the people - and in our democratic society we must accept the will of the majority - decide they want filters then they shall have filters.

While some Chicken Little types inculcate the public, they are wise enough to make decisions about what they want available in the library. Collection development - and yes filters are a collection development decision- must be based on the needs of the patrons served, not some seemingly noble, but misguided notion that all information should be available to everyone that wishes it.

Librarians who continue to beat that drum simply make themselves, and unfortunately the rest of us look like idiots.

Denying patrons access to services and materials to which they are entitled is simply wrong, professional, ethically, and morally.

Re:You Can't Have It Both Ways

Access to the Internet at the public library is not a right.

Re:Red Herring Alert!

The Internet at the public library is not a public forum. There is no right to Internet access at the library.

Your argument is baseless as the Constitutional and First Amendment questions have been answered and the answer is no, there is no right to Internet access.

That said, if the library does supply Internet access as a service (filtered or unfiltered) it has an obligation not to withhold that access to make a political point. Would they do that with books, periodicals? No, so why is withholding access to the Internet acceptable?

have it one way?

Libraries aren't a right either. Maybe we should all become ministers.

Re:have it one way?

No one was arguing that libraries are a right. Try to stay on topic.

Re:You Can't Have It Both Ways

1. Bottom line, you can filter by age. Again, fine by me.

2. There is no 'demonstration', there is simply an extreme response meant to make political hay.

3. That $6000 is every year, so in 10 years that's 60,000. At most you'd have to update the software once for a total of $20,000.

I'm not completely unsympathetic to all the arguments made but the fact is if ALA had made an attempt to negotiate and focus the filtering on children's computers only *none of this* would be an issue.

Re:hmmm....

In any event, in what way is protected speech not the best reading?

Free speech is not valued speech.

Does not requiring the unnecessary added expense of internet filtering fly in the face of the idea of "least cost"?

Definitly not because the equipment that hosts it is expensive to buy and maintain and limited in quanity. How it is used will define how cost effective it is.

Re:You Can't Have It Both Ways

But then again, you're talking about Net Nanny - the biggest piece of internet filtering junk out there. Anyone who's spent five minutes with this worthless software knows exactly what I'm talking about. Believe me - a 5 year-old could break the security.

Re:You Can't Have It Both Ways

No... a 5 year old couldn't. Neither could a 10 or 11 year old. And, as always, the fact that its there is part of the deterrent.

Re:Red Herring Alert!

We went this round before. ACLU v. Reno extended full First Amendment protection to the Internet. Even as they sputtered about with 1930's library texts to justify their creaky reasoning, the four justices voting to uphold CIPA in US v. ALA made sure to endorse the Solicitor General's promise that adults had the right to ask for unfiltered access without explaning why they wanted it, as a means of addressing First Amendment "concerns." Once the libary opens Internet access, the First Amendment comes into play, and I doubt very much that the current court would endorse your absolutist view.And you can't have it both ways. If internet access isn't a right, as you say, then the library can turn it on and off at will. That's what it means to have no right to Internet access. YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO DEMAND ANYTHING. It's all up to the library administration discretion in your world view, right? They can decide that they don't want to incur the liability imposed upon them by the state, or that they don't want to spend scarce money on filters, or that they just don't want to turn it on and waste electricity, or even to demonstrate to their patrons what it actually means not to have a "right" to access the Internet.

Re:Disgusting

This isn't the community deciding that it wants filters - it's the state government imposing a costly censorship scheme on libraries no matter what the views of the local voters, solely on the basis of a minority's moral disapproval. This is the opposite of democracy. That's the point the local libraries are trying to make.Librarianship is about making information available according to the needs of the users - not according to the moral views of the filtering company, the librarian or another user. And filters, if they are "collection development" are lousy collection development, delegated to a private entity that doesn't operate according to professional standards and without regard to the rights of the minority as well as the majority. Filters don't serve users: they only serve to comfort the moral police. p.Denying patrons access to services and materials to which they are entitled is simply wrong, professional, ethically, and morally.So true. So what justifies denying patrons access to information via a filter that has no regard for the patrons' information needs?

Re:You Can't Have It Both Ways

You are clearly not the parent of a savvy ten year old. I've had fourth and fifth graders demonstrate how they use proxies and other hacks to get around the filters on their school computers.

Re:You Can't Have It Both Ways

Good for them, I hope they got detention for doing it. That some can is not an excuse to open the doors completely for everyone.

Re:Red Herring Alert!

Nothing has ever made the internet at the library a public forum. Once the library opens its doors the First Amendment comes into play, but beating a dead horse will not make public internet access a public forum.

I know we had discussed this before and you are still making assumptions not based on the law.

I'll spring for the LSAT if you want to take it if you promise to learn the current interpretation of this.

Re:won't somebody

Chuck! It's that ol' straw man again!Misrepresent your opponent's position @ your library.

Re:won't somebody

I didn't. That's why it's funny.

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