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Homeland Security Shuts Down Dozens of Web Sites Without Court Order


US Politics & Gov't  (tags: government, homeland security, Internet )

Jae
- 3124 days ago - icecld2.newsvine.com
The Homeland Security Department's customs enforcement division has gone on a Web site shutdown spree, closing down at least 76 domains this week, according to online reports.



   

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Comments

Jae A (316)
Friday November 26, 2010, 10:42 pm
Smoke screen to get people use to the idea of government limiting access to sites. Homeland Security has no business in being a part of this in the first place. It's not of national security...Corporate interest..maybe.
 

patrica and edw jones (190)
Friday November 26, 2010, 11:22 pm
Noted Jae, thanks.
 

Kathy Chadwell (354)
Friday November 26, 2010, 11:26 pm
Jae I can't read the article I'm not a member. Can you copy & paste it here for us please.

We used many sites when I was on the internet Peace group when they right before (& after) bush invaded Iraqi. Being able to look up & trade information from other countries helps you to sort out the truth about things. Especially china during the Beijing take over, china cut the lines so the Chinese people couldn't relate to the rest of the world what was happening. I said it before and I'll say it again,, we need to do away with homeland scary, they are like hitlers SS.
 

Michael Carney (217)
Friday November 26, 2010, 11:31 pm
I agree 100% Jae...
 

William K (308)
Friday November 26, 2010, 11:37 pm
This is about copyright infringement, apparently, with homeland security shutting down not just copyright-violating file-sharing sites, but sites that link to these sites as well. The Homeland Security link comes from the fact that Homeland Security encompasses the FBI, which handles these cases (you know, those FBI warnings that come on at the beginning of videos?).

There is definitely an issue of due process involved here, though.
 

Mac R (289)
Friday November 26, 2010, 11:44 pm
Here ya go, Kathy:
The Homeland Security Department's customs enforcement division has gone on a Web site shutdown spree, closing down at least 76 domains this week, according to online reports.

While many of the web domains were sites that trafficked in counterfeit brand name goods, and some others linked to copyright-infringing file-sharing materials, at least one site was a Google-like search engine, causing alarm among web freedom advocates who worry the move steps over the line into censorship.

All the shut sites are now displaying a Homeland Security warning that copyright infringers can face up to five years in prison.

According to a report at TorrentFreak, the search engine that was shut down -- Torrent-Finder.com -- neither hosted copyrighted material nor directly linked to places where it could be found. Instead, the site opened new windows to sites that did link to file-sharing materials.

"When a site has no tracker, carries no torrents, lists no copyright works unless someone searches for them and responds just like Google, accusing it of infringement becomes somewhat of a minefield," writes Torrentfreak, "Unless you’re ICE Homeland Security Investigations that is."

As of its last update, Torrentfreak counted 76 domains shut down this week.

Homeland Security's ability to shut down sites without a court order evidently comes from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, a Clinton-era law that allows Web sites to be closed on the basis of a copyright complaint. Critics have long assailed the DMCA for being too broad, as complainants don't need to prove copyright infringement before a site can be taken down.

News of the shutdowns has some observers wondering whether the US really needs COICA, the anti-counterfeiting bill that passed through a Senate committee with unanimous approval last week. That bill would allow the federal government to block access to Web sites that attorneys general deem to have infringed on copyright.

"Domain seizures coming under the much debated ‘censorship bill’ COICA? Who needs it?" quips Torrentfreak.

However, COICA would allow the government to block access to Web sites located anywhere in the world, while Homeland Security's take-downs are limited to servers inside the United States. Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon said he would place a hold on COICA, effectively killing the bill at least until the new congressional session next year.

The owner of Torrent-Finder.net complained that his search engine was shut down without so much as a court order or prior complaint.

“My domain has been seized without any previous complaint or notice from any court!” the owner said, without being identified in the Torrentfreak article.

Earlier this week, Homeland Security shut down a popular hip-hop music site, RapGodfathers.com, which had nearly 150,000 members. The site claims it is compliant with copyright laws, as it doesn't host copyrighted materials. However, its users posted links to file-hosting services such as Rapidshare and Megaupload, where copyrighted material may have been shared.

These domains are now "the property of Homeland Security," writes Gareth Halfacree at Thinq.co.uk, "And there's no indication that their original owners will ever be able to get them back."
 

Kathy Chadwell (354)
Friday November 26, 2010, 11:54 pm
Thank you Mac
Okay I get this,,, but what worries me with any kind of power is,,, you give them an inch and they take a mile. I know I visit sites & receive news letters from animal rights sites that I worry will come under attack if they take the mile instead of the inch.
 

Animae C (509)
Saturday November 27, 2010, 3:06 am
really....
 

Kathy B (106)
Saturday November 27, 2010, 5:20 am
I don't want to sound like I'm against the copyright laws, but don't they have better ways to waste our taxpayer dollars - like how is this an imminent 'homeland security' issue with our economy in the toilet?
 

Jenny Dooley (830)
Saturday November 27, 2010, 5:50 am
Thanks Jae for this article. And thanks also to Agnes for posting the link.
 

Krasimira B (175)
Saturday November 27, 2010, 5:59 am
Very disturbing. Thank you Jae.
 

Past Member (0)
Saturday November 27, 2010, 6:20 am
Noted, thanks Jae. Whatever happened to "innocent until proven guilty"?
 

Ricardo C (66)
Saturday November 27, 2010, 6:51 am
Well, there are some spoilers in the system (democratic system) that make you and me pay for their wrongdoing and they are the ones that help Homeland Security do what it does best "security" wise. Because of these spoilers, democracy has reached its peak according to them and Homeland will be watching out that it doesn't go "overboard" and that's their best excuse.
 

Stephen S (74)
Saturday November 27, 2010, 7:06 am
Thanks Jae. Noted
 

Dotti L (85)
Saturday November 27, 2010, 7:11 am
Read and noted.
 

cecily w (0)
Saturday November 27, 2010, 8:08 am
And so it escalates. Get set for a bumpy ride, citizens.
 

Kit B (276)
Saturday November 27, 2010, 8:44 am
This is what we pay the FBI to do, police those things that fall under Federal jurisdiction. Yes, as Ricardo said there are spoilers, those who take advantage of the Internet for IGG, and these days that will bring more then a little suspicion. Just think about the most recent attempt by what I guess will be called the "Oregon bomber" had the FBI not been tracking this jerk - how many would have died? None of us like having a Big Brother looking over our shoulder, so how do we balance a need for law enforcement or in the case of attempted terrorism prevention, and the rights of the citizens? It a tough question and always has been.
 

James F (5)
Saturday November 27, 2010, 9:49 am
So much for the land of the free...

Though I note that the Department of Homeland Security hasn't (so far) managed to shut down those sites, they've just seized the domain name. For example clicking www.torrentfinder.com comes up with the DHS seizure announcement, but entering the name in a "whois" site gives the original IP address of 208.101.51.57 which still works.
 

Lin Penrose (92)
Saturday November 27, 2010, 10:00 am
Noted & thanks Jae. As Cecily wrote, "get set". The "get ready" could have been Bush's reactions by installing off-shoots of the FBI, ie., Homeland Security & creation of the "Patriot Act", etc.. The "Go" may actually be the "gone". There must be some good news in this,for instance, we are now protected from something(s) or someone(s). Isn't that what Homeland Security is about? Copywriter's were getting "mugged" on the Internet?
 

Caitlin M (104)
Saturday November 27, 2010, 10:08 am
I don't like the "Patriot Act" because it took many of our constitutionally given rights out in one swift push. I don't trust the department of "Homeland Security" because it was designed by Bush/Cheney, who are despicable, treasonous, liars and don't care about being ethical in their practices.

This does strike me, though, as a similar problem to the "frisking" by the TSA question: Privacy/Freedom vs. Security. It is a difficult question because most of us probably want both. I am afraid that in the name of "security" we are losing so much of the freedoms we have always thought we had... and did have to some extent.

On this issue, I'd have been happier if Homeland Security had asked a panel of learned civilian techies to be involved with the choices and put the issue before the American public BEFORE the action was taken and completed without recourse. Or something like that!
 

Hans Mueller (591)
Saturday November 27, 2010, 10:29 am
Thanks for posting this informative and disturbing news story Jae. I'm not a constitutional lawyer but this would seem to trample on First Amendment rights. I'm not aware that the government licenes the use of the internet, Maybe I'm stretching, but it seems to me that the internet involves free speach. Even if the activity was alleged to be illegal, that is a matter for the courts. It's a legal issue not a government prerogative to shut down the sites. Just another abuse of our Constitution.
 

JustaHuman Here (53)
Saturday November 27, 2010, 11:12 am
Why Americans can so hardly understand?
 

Sheryl G (359)
Saturday November 27, 2010, 11:37 am
An evil exists that threatens every man, woman and child of this great nation. We must take steps to insure our domestic security and protect our homeland."

Q. Who said the above statement?
A. Hitler

What Hitler knew and every totalitarian government knows is that the way to gain additional power and control over the people is to have a major crisis which makes the people feel insecure and unsafe. The government then offers to protect the people from this new threat. All that is required is for the people to give up some of their liberties and freedoms.

Are we getting it yet people?
 

. (0)
Saturday November 27, 2010, 11:41 am
The copyright law is kind of a farse. Most of the people copyrighting are not the original author or owner. How can you copyright something given by God, anyway? There should be more focus on protecting people's lives from loss due to identity fraud. More funds used to ensure that private information is not tampered with by outsiders.
 

Bruce Eyster (62)
Saturday November 27, 2010, 12:33 pm
Noted with thanks to Jae and also Marc ( the info. posted was really a good and informative clarification )
 

Susan Pernot (75)
Saturday November 27, 2010, 12:37 pm
We are doomed.
 

Judith H (27)
Saturday November 27, 2010, 12:48 pm
Unfortunately because the way the policy was written for homeland security, they can do just about anything they want without a reasonable cause or any warrant.
 

Sheryl G (359)
Saturday November 27, 2010, 12:52 pm
PETITION: Immediate and Total Repeal of the Patriot Act

http://www.petitiononline.com/sabene/

 

Trish K (93)
Saturday November 27, 2010, 12:56 pm
A Green Star to Jae . . * A Green Star to Caitlin . . * A Green Star to Dandelion I cannot give * . . . * * *

Down with homeland security for those that invented it and all it stands for.
 

tony lane (3)
Saturday November 27, 2010, 1:05 pm
what this means is that everybody must wake up your freedoms are being distroyed,the time has come to revolt and stand and say we have had enough, it can be done without violence,this has brewing for a long time,the same people who were behind bush are now behind obama and it is they who want to implement the new world order and if you all dont wake up soon then it will happen by stealth or while you are sleeping,things are being hurried along by these creatures because time is running out for them.
 

Barbara Erdman (63)
Saturday November 27, 2010, 1:31 pm
Noted. thanx for article Jae
 

Mary Danforrh (0)
Saturday November 27, 2010, 2:09 pm
My son-in-law is a singer /songwriter and every one but him and his kids are making money off of his work by stealing his music and selling it to anyone that wants it. This is theft !! How would you like to spend years building a boat and have someone else come in and take it and sell it and pocket the money ? I bet your tune woud change in a hurry.
 

Harry Schneider (43)
Saturday November 27, 2010, 2:12 pm
There is no doubt that the internet is covered by the constitutional right of free spech. And not only here in America, but also in Europe, where some trials have stated that. But in all countries politicians are "supported" by music corporation lobbyists to take influence on that. And how Hans stated, it is only a issue for the courts, any other invention would be against the Constitution and therfore illegal. It is absolutely neccessary to have a strict separtation between legal authorities and government organs to stop this ongoing abuse of basic rights.
 

Past Member (0)
Saturday November 27, 2010, 2:28 pm
Thank you.
 

M B (62)
Saturday November 27, 2010, 2:40 pm
I agree with Tony L., this is America.....
 

M B (62)
Saturday November 27, 2010, 2:43 pm
sorry - I got no solution.
 

. (0)
Saturday November 27, 2010, 2:50 pm
Without knowing why these sites were shut down, there's little to contribute,
 

Kathy B (106)
Saturday November 27, 2010, 2:52 pm
Sarah, I have to take exception to your statement that the copyright law is a farce. Being married to a photographer I know better. I don't know all the ins and outs, but for writers and artists, etc. the copyright law is pretty much all they have.
 

Mary L (132)
Saturday November 27, 2010, 3:14 pm
When fear rules men and women who crave power encroach on others rights. They want more always more until there is no freedom, only slaves.

"Work makes you free. A- Hitler"

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. - B. Franklin"

"War is Peace - Freedom is Slavery - Ignorance is Strength - G. Orwell"

Particularly ignorance is strength is quite true today. Look around.
 

Gillian M (218)
Saturday November 27, 2010, 3:21 pm
Sorry, I don't understand can shut down a domain in another country. America is not the police in my country! I would want it proved that there is a copyright violation in a court in the UK, which is the correct and legal way to go. I'm not saying that there are or are not websites which infringe copyright but that there is a correct & proper way to do this.

After all, we are only talking about corprations (sorry, forgot that they run America) but the sites that should be shut down without a warrant should be something like Craig's List which, I note, is untouched! Surely the welfare of the people beng sold on it is more important than a few measley dollars? Sorry, I forget that the American government runs on the all mighty buck!!!
 

Past Member (0)
Saturday November 27, 2010, 3:43 pm
Land of the free huh?
 

S B (1)
Saturday November 27, 2010, 4:05 pm
our government has been systematically stripping Americans of their constitutional rights for decades & being more blatant about it every time they rape us. W was the worst. he's such a tool in more than one way. i guess i should be careful what i write or i'll be dragged out of my house in the middle of the night by the G man.
 

Jae A (316)
Saturday November 27, 2010, 4:31 pm
They started with what would probably be a palletable 'target' for many people. That is a simple way of getting people use to the idea of their doing anything in the first place. They will then pick their next target..probably in the name of 'save the children' . From there it's on to the smaller/entrepreneus Internet businesses for some cooked up reason or by pricing them out of the market for a site and bye bye competition/infomation/free or low cost entertainment as well as contact with the rest of the world in general...By then they will have come for your favorite sites...including this one. It will be.............Shop til ya drop within the limited U.S. internet sites ...and that will be the sole purpose for having a P.C. for Internet use. That is why they should be stopped/punished now for not following the rules, even if something illegal was in the mix. We should be rasing all hell and refusing to let them have a Homeland Security Vigilante Department. . A court order and 'transparency' of all actions from that moment on. Anything short of that..not acceptable by the people.
 

Past Member (0)
Saturday November 27, 2010, 5:06 pm
I guess I am not so easily convinced of this ! Why ? Well he sited in one place that there were 76 sites shut down yet he only names his site and a Hip hop site who he readily admits could have violated infringement rights .

Call me a skeptic but it really sounds more like a Rush Limbaugh sabatoge plan. I will ask you one question . How do you think and to what extremes do you think Republicans would go to assure the public will turn on our President ?
Maybe I am being naive but somehow to me it smacks of a set up.
 

Past Member (0)
Saturday November 27, 2010, 5:18 pm
Forgot to add I was never and never will be for the Patriot Act . I think it should be stopped.
 

Sharon Karson (82)
Saturday November 27, 2010, 5:47 pm
Homeland Security like the patriot act is a violation of the constitution and should go the way of the dinosaur. They are claiming far more power than they have any right to. I feel like we've grown our own version of the SS.
 

JASMIN HORST S (14)
Saturday November 27, 2010, 5:50 pm
Ein Volk ein Reich ein Fuehrer, just a different name a different country, and lots of fear, mostly manufactured by those in whose interest........
Sieg Heil!
 

Jae A (316)
Saturday November 27, 2010, 6:01 pm
Hitler did have a HomeLand Security which struck me as woe when Bush announced his. Hitler also had a'Patriot Act' . Same names and no doubt for the same purposes as those of ..well ya know, the Nazi Fascist fellow I just mentioned. Juuussss say'n.

Same type of rethoric also as this wingnut is spouting...while holding a gun in one hand,a bible in the other.. all wrapped in the American flag...hummm..that sounds like a familar warning also, me thinketh.

Oh well hate and fear over the economy and our freedoms ,,so say the 'rightwing/Neocons'..

What that you say...'the writing on the wall..:'
 

Joshua I (6)
Saturday November 27, 2010, 6:54 pm
The Ten Steps To Destroy A Democracy,... [ Google, THE END OF AMERICA, by Naomi Wolf ]. It's time to start defending democracy, by knowing and defeating the plan of operation,...
 

Sir Walk F (124)
Saturday November 27, 2010, 8:02 pm
I agree with those who question why this was done under 'Homeland Security", and why other previously existing modes of law enforcement weren't utilzed under normal legal processes than this heavey-handed seizing of domains under 'homeland security'.

I mean, really? someone sharing a new lady gaga song or another disposable hollywood movie is threatening our nation?
 

John Williams (36)
Saturday November 27, 2010, 8:10 pm
noted--- angry , upset, bewildered, dismayed, perplexed, annoyed, depressed..... but mainly angry
 

Danell A (15)
Saturday November 27, 2010, 8:16 pm
Noted, shared & not surprised as our government is taking away our rights. For anyone that couldn't read the article here's the link:

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/11/homeland-security-shuts-dozens-sites/?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed
 

Linda G (187)
Saturday November 27, 2010, 10:45 pm
I think there is more to the story than has been told here. However, I agree with all who have stated that shutting down a site by taking control of the domain without a court order is cause for much concern, especially since we are a nation of "laws".... or so they say.
 

Bon L (0)
Sunday November 28, 2010, 1:46 am
Thanks for the info.
 

Angelika R (143)
Sunday November 28, 2010, 2:59 am
Looks to me like another WTF . --- " These domains are now "the property of Homeland Security," writes Gareth Halfacree at Thinq.co.uk, "And there's no indication that their original owners will ever be able to get them back."

I would call this larceny ^^ -Thx Jae, despite the bad and alarming news..
-Kathy , how come you could NOT get to the article while I could? No membership of that site needed.
 

Hans Mueller (591)
Sunday November 28, 2010, 6:07 am
Linda, it's no trumped up story, it's true. Following is an article from Mashible which is a reputable tech online publication -

http://mashable.com/2010/11/27/homeland-security-website-seized/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Mashable+%28Mashable%29&utm_content=Yahoo%21+Mail

Homeland Security Seizes 70+ Websites for Copyright and Trademark Violations

The U.S. government’s crackdown on file sharing and counterfeiting has taken a new and disturbing turn.

Yesterday, we reported that the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement office had seized Torrent-Finder.com, a site that linked to other sites that hosted and shared torrent files of copyrighted material. The news itself was not too unusual; what struck us as out of order was that the site had been shut down without the owner being notified and without a court conviction or, to our knowledge, any other legal proceedings.

At the time, we knew that several other websites had also been seized; however, today, we are hearing reports that as many as 77 different websites have been seized and shut down, all without any notification or warning to the owners.

As the owner of Torrent-Finder.com said, the sites were seized “without any previous complaint or notice from any court… While I was contacting GoDaddy I noticed the DNS had changed. Godaddy had no idea what was going on and until now they do not understand the situation, and they say it was totally from ICANN.”

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is seizing sites directly from ICANN because of complaints filed against them; the agency is not doing so under the auspices of the Digital Millenium Coptyright Act (DMCA) or a more recently introduced, so-called “censorship” bill, the Combating Online Infringements and Counterfeits Act, or COICA, which was created specifically to address the issue of piracy.

While both of these acts have serious issues that many free-web advocates find disturbing, the implementation of either law might be better than no law at all.

Rather than using DMCA or COICA, the DHS has, as one spokesperson told The New York Times, “executed court-ordered seizure warrants against a number of domain names.”

So far, TorrentFreak is counting 77 domains seized. These URLs indicate that sites were used to peddle counterfeit goods as well as illegally shared media files.

What we can’t debate is that the government has a right to enforce its own laws. If copyrights are being infringed upon and goods are being counterfeited, the government does have the authority to put a stop to those activities.

But when legislators have taken great pains to construct and pass laws that create procedures for dealing with these exact issues, it does seem a bit off that none of those procedures were used.

For example, COICA would create a blacklist of censored URLs. If infringement of copyright or the trafficking of counterfeited goods is central to the operation of the website, the Attorney General can ask a court to place that website on the blacklist.

The DHS is bypassing typical laws and procedures to quickly stamp out file-sharing and counterfeiting — perhaps in time to thwart knock-off holiday shopping, we could speculate. We might also speculate that the reason for the rush job has something to do with the impending passage of COICA, which would create a longer process for closing these sites.

Speculations aside, this great haste is as confusing as it is perturbing; it doesn’t sit well with the traditionally American sense of due process.

What do you make of these seizures? Do you think Homeland Security is right to close these sites, specifically in this manner? Let us know your opinions in the comments.

Image courtesy of FlickrFlickr, daphid.

 

Hans Mueller (591)
Sunday November 28, 2010, 6:09 am
"Mashable"
 

Linda Wallace (32)
Sunday November 28, 2010, 7:02 am
Difficult to get at the truth if you can't read all of the information. Where does it end?
 

Tina Scislow (41)
Sunday November 28, 2010, 7:30 am
Thank you so much for the information and I do agree that we need to stand up for being able to communicate with whomever and where ever we choose to do so. That doesn't mean that the vast majority of us are going to go against what is good and decent.
 

Roberta Z (16)
Sunday November 28, 2010, 8:37 am
Sounds as if they found an easy target. I think our tax dollars should be spent elsewhere like thwarting terrorism.
 

tony lane (3)
Sunday November 28, 2010, 9:33 am
the people must get together like they have in australia who now have an underground network of their own,like i have already said in a previous article,we must outlaw the TSA and THE HOMELAND SECURITY,and it must be done soon,we must push them and keep them off balance because they are starting to get desperate,they are not the public servants that they pretend to be they are part of the masonic new world order,they are taking your money in taxes and serving another agenda and it's not the public,so we must take the power away from them because we did not choose them.
 

Deborah L (70)
Sunday November 28, 2010, 11:03 am
Jae: Remember that Preston Bush, G.W. grand daddy helped fund Hitlers madness for several years before he was exposed, so how his son was able to be in the CIA, then president and the grandsons in politics also is a scary reality that never should have been allowed.G.W.also mentioned atleast10times during public, speeches and parties that he wanted America to be a dictatorship as it would bee easier to control the sheeple, as long as he, G.W. was the dictator of course. He even mentioned it at one of the State of the Union addresses, I have the dates written somewhere.

Department of Homeland Insecurity is morel ike it.
 

Marianna Molnar (9)
Sunday November 28, 2010, 11:58 am
they have 2 justify their salaries somehow
 

Claudia McCall (43)
Monday November 29, 2010, 12:49 am
Noted. Thank you, Jae. This is very disturbing. I understand the copyright infringement issues, but I'm sure there are other better ways to deal with those. Why drag out a cannon to kill a fly? Unless one has nefarious purposes...
 

ChanTlalok Rain C (363)
Monday November 29, 2010, 12:43 pm
thanx Jae for the post and also Mac. A lot of good comments, I liked Deborah's about the Bush's and Hitler. I also agree with a comment mentioned above about they are looking at this website and taking down notes on us. Big Brother, I mean The Great White Father knows what is good for his children, I heard this statement was used in the 1800's when the government had dealings with the Savages, I mean Injuns, I mean us Natives.

Blessings, this Government was never Good, ask any Native. Oh, we are not Native Americans, nor Indians. We are Natives, First Peoples, or Comanche, Iroquois, Huron, Shoshone, Apache, Kiowa, Salish, Mexica (Aztec coined by the Spanish), Zapotec, Huichol, Inca, Tarascan, Dine, Pueblo, Arapaho, Seminoles, Tonkawas, Kickapoos, etc., etc. plus 280 remaining out of 620. OOps got off the subject.
 

Past Member (0)
Friday February 11, 2011, 10:06 pm
The sheer existence of a "Homeland Security" organization that even goes to the extremes that it does, should SIGNAL TO EVERYONE that the NWO is taking over......and it's our position to challenge that maneuver, since there are far more of us than them.......and we have TONS MORE ingenuity than they will EVER HAVE.....AS "so called Civil Servants"......hello...we come before them I believe.....YES or NO?
 

Jae A (316)
Saturday February 12, 2011, 3:33 am
Roger ....Ssssssss...NWO doesn't exist except in science fiction books,don't ya know.

{wink wink nod nod}
 
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