Allens

Technology, Media & Telecommunications

Our experienced Technology, Media & Telecommunications legal team regularly publishes articles and updates - the full list of publications appears below. Our publications contain up-to-date news for industry professionals, with commentary by our expert legal teams. If you'd like to be notified when we add new technology, media & telecommunications publications to the site, please go to our subscription page to sign up for email alerts or, alternatively, you can subscribe to our RSS feed.

Technology, Media and Telecommunications is a dynamic area of growth, with constantly changing opportunities and legislation. For more information, see our technology, media and telecommunications pages.

Technology, Media & Telecommunications Publications

  • Client Update: ASIC announces fintech licensing exemptions

    19 December 2016

    As part of its implementation of the 'regulatory sandbox' for fintech companies, ASIC is providing relief for certain fintech businesses from the obligation to hold an Australian financial services or Australian credit licence. Relief may be available for up to 12 months and may be useful to businesses in what ASIC refers to as the 'testing' stage of their development. ASIC has also made some changes to the responsible manager requirements for licensees, which may be particularly useful to 'robo advice' providers. Managing Associate Simun Soljo and Associate Jonathan Gardner report.

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  • Focus: Take care with agency arrangements - Flight Centre decision

    14 December 2016

    The High Court today handed down its decision in the high-profile ACCC proceedings against Flight Centre. The High Court allowed the ACCC's appeal from the Full Federal Court, finding that Flight Centre competed with airlines in the sale of international airline tickets and attempted to induce three major airlines to enter price-fixing arrangements. Partner Carolyn Oddie, Managing Associate Robert Walker and Lawyer Darcy McLennan consider the implications.

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  • Focus: Landmark Productivity Commission report on data availability and use

    24 November 2016

    The Productivity Commission has released a landmark draft report on the ability of individuals, businesses and government to access and use data in Australia. The report criticises Australia's historically conservative approach to data use and proposes a 'fundamental and systematic change' to the way that data is made available and linked. Partner Gavin Smith, Managing Associate Valeska Bloch, Associate Tom Griffin and Lawyer Claudia Hall report.

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  • Focus: Worth the wait? Release of draft mandatory data breach notification laws

    25 October 2016

    Following a period of industry consultation, the Federal Government has introduced updated legislation that will introduce a mandatory data breach notification scheme. The new Bill will amend the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) when it comes into force and will apply to all Australian companies currently subject to the Privacy Act. Partner Gavin Smith, Senior Associate Alice Williams, Associate Tom Griffin and Lawyer Leah Wickman report.

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  • Client Update: E-signature - a case study, but not a test case

    29 September 2016

    A recent New South Wales Court of Appeal decision concerned a guarantee purportedly signed by e-signature without the guarantor's knowledge. It is an interesting case-study, though the decision is really about ostensible authority and ratification. Senior Finance Counsel Diccon Loxton considers its implications.

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  • Unravelled: The High Court has its say on penalties

    9 August 2016

    In case you haven't heard, last week the High Court handed down its decision in Paciocco v Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited. In what was perhaps the most highly anticipated High Court decision of the year, the majority found that credit card late payment fees charged by ANZ were not penalties. Here we look at what the High Court had to say about the penalties rule and what this means for business and for class actions in the financial services space.

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  • Focus: Predictive coding endorsed again by English High Court

    29 June 2016

    In its second decision on predictive coding this year, the English High Court has again accepted the use of this innovative technology in discovery, this time in a contested application. Partner Duncan Travis, Managing Associate Kate Austin and Law Graduate Yi-Ling Ng examine the case and its implications.

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  • Special Report: Understanding the opportunities and navigating the legal frameworks of distributed ledger technology and blockchain

    17 June 2016

    Authored by a multidisciplinary team from Allens, Blockchain Reaction is designed to assist business stakeholders, decision makers and in-house counsel across a variety of sectors to understand the technology and how it is being used, as well as navigate the regulatory and legal opportunities and challenges.

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  • Allens Accelerate: FAQs: Shareholders agreements

    15 June 2016

    Together with your company's constitution, a shareholders agreement provides the foundation for the corporate governance of your startup and outlines what a shareholder can and can't do. It also sets out the shareholders' rights and obligations and their role in the management of the company.

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  • Allens Accelerate: Preparing for investment

    8 June 2016

    As a startup looking to raise capital, you'll most likely spend a fair bit of time thinking about your pitch to potential investors and, if you're lucky, the terms of any investment.

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  • Focus: Australia and Singapore enter into Comprehensive Strategic Partnership

    17 May 2016

    The Australian and Singaporean governments have recently concluded discussions on a landmark agreement that will see the two countries cooperating across a range of strategic initiatives, including in the areas of trade and economics, innovation, education, people and defence. The Comprehensive Strategic Partnership builds on the already strong relations between Australia and Singapore and is expected to provide new cross-border investment opportunities through enhanced bilateral relations. Singapore-based Managing Associate, Jessica Choong, reports.

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  • Focus: Workplace Relations

    5 May 2016

    In this issue we look at an adverse action case; why a redundancy does not necessarily constitute a termination; the importance of a consistent process to deal with bullying in the workplace; the fairness of a dismissal for failing workplace drug tests; and when a company can prevent an employee from going to work for a competitor.

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  • Client Update: Government and ASIC announcements for FinTech sector

    23 March 2016

    There were three announcements this week that will serve to bolster the emerging Australian FinTech sector. The Government released a statement in support of FinTech as part of its National Innovation and Science Agenda, while ASIC issued two sets of guidance: an information sheet for providers of marketplace lending products, and draft guidance to providers of digital financial product advice. Partner Gavin Smith, Managing Associate Valeska Bloch, Senior Associate Simun Soljo and Senior Paralegal Connie Ye report.

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  • Allens Accelerate: The startup investor tax concessions - what you need to know

    22 March 2016

    The Federal Government has introduced a Bill detailing tax concessions to incentivise investment into Australian startups.

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  • Focus: NSW to go it alone on a tort of privacy?

    11 March 2016

    A New South Wales legislative committee has released a report following an inquiry into remedies for serious invasions of privacy in New South Wales. In an unexpected and controversial move, the report recommends that the NSW Government 'take the lead' by introducing a statutory cause of action for serious invasions of privacy. Partner Gavin Smith and Lawyers William Coote and Laura Bereicua look at the controversial report which, if it were to be enacted, will allow individuals to sue companies for invasions of privacy.

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  • Focus: Media ownership reform back in the spotlight

    8 March 2016

    The Federal Government has introduced a narrow package of media ownership reform which, if enacted, will reduce the restrictions imposed by the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (Cth) on the ownership of media assets across platforms and markets. Partner Ian McGill and Lawyer Ben Murphy report on these deregulatory changes that have the potential to spark consolidation among traditional media operators.

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  • Focus: Predictive coding: the future of electronic document production?

    25 February 2016

    A recent decision of the English High Court may pave the way for the use of 'predictive coding' in large scale discovery and regulatory investigations in Australia. Partners Nick Rudge and Duncan Travis, Managing Associate Kate Austin and Associate Emily Giblin look at the benefits and risks of the new software.

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  • Focus: Commissioner threatens to issue higher tax bills

    19 February 2016

    The Commissioner of Taxation has, in a recent Australian Senate Estimates hearing, expressed frustration that companies potentially subject to Australia's cross-border anti-avoidance laws (including the new Multinational Anti-Avoidance Law or MAAL) which have documents offshore, outside the reach of his access powers, are not providing him with relevant information - either at all, or in what he regards as a timely manner. He has threatened to raise assessments, which would force these companies to object against those assessments and provide further information if they wish to prove the assessments are excessive. Although affected non resident entities may not have assets in Australia, this does not mean the Commissioner will be unable to enforce the tax debts which would arise on such assessments.

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  • Focus: Clarification on the meaning of 'personal information'

    1 February 2016

    The Administrative Appeals Tribunal has overturned the Grubb determination of the Commonwealth Privacy Commissioner and found that mobile network data from an individual's phone activity does not constitute 'personal information' under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth). Partners Michael Pattison and Gavin Smith and Associates Priyanka Nair and Tom Kavanagh report on this important decision that provides further guidance on the requirement for personal information to be information 'about an individual'.

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  • Focus: Arbitration Roundup

    22 December 2015

    We look at how Australia keeps up to date with international best practice by amendments to ACICA arbitral rules and international arbitration laws; potential improvements and innovations identified in the 2015 Queen Mary University of London International Arbitration Survey; the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism under the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement; and in Hong Kong, increasing support for third party arbitration funding and the introduction of arbitrator 'report cards'. This issue has been edited by Partner Andrea Martignoni and Senior Associate Catherine Li.

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  • Client Update: Full Court comes down hard on business method patent, but software remains patentable

    21 December 2015

    In an eagerly awaited appeal decision in RPL Central v The Commissioner of Patents, the Full Federal Court has decided that the evidence-gathering method the subject of RPL Central's innovation patent was a 'mere scheme', abstract idea or business method that did not constitute patentable subject matter. Partner Chris Bird and Senior Associate Anthony Selleck report.

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  • Fact sheet: Show me the money: Tax reforms to encourage investment in startups

    10 December 2015

    The Ideas Boom has arrived with the Federal Government's National Innovation and Science Agenda. Central to the new agenda are a raft of tax and regulatory measures designed to encourage greater investment in startups to help them both get off the ground and to survive the ‘valley of death’ with greater access to Series A capital.

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  • Allens Accelerate: Get ready for the #IdeasBoom!

    8 December 2015

    Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has unveiled the hotly awaited National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA). The Prime Minister declared the beginning of the Ideas Boom, stating that 'unlike the mining boom, this is a boom that can continue forever'. The NISA comprises more than 20 individual policies and will deliver $1.1 billion worth of measures to kick-start the Ideas Boom over the next four years. But, at first blush, the view of the Allens Accelerate team is that the measures will constitute a quantum leap for the startup landscape in Australia.

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  • Client Update: Major overhaul of Australia's foreign investment laws: what's new?

    4 December 2015

    The new package of legislation overhauling Australia's foreign investment laws, the first major revision in 40 years, commenced on 1 December 2015. While many features of the previous regime have been retained (and sometimes re-named), there are also a number of significant changes. Partners Jeremy Low, Wendy Rae and Richard Kriedemann and Senior Associate Eve Regnard review the key new elements.

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  • Focus: Government rejigs electronic health records system with opt-out approach

    21 October 2015

    The Federal Government's electronic health records system may have a new lease on life following the introduction of a new Bill that attempts to improve the system's effectiveness with key changes such as the transition to an 'opt-out' approach. Partner Ian McGill, Senior Associate Phil O'Sullivan and Associate Emily Cravigan report.

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  • Fact sheet: Starting-up smart: How to get the most out of your lawyer, for less

    19 October 2015

    If you’re focused on testing your idea, developing your product and scraping together enough funds to talk to foundation customers, engaging a lawyer could be the last thing on your mind.

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  • Fact sheet: Crowd-sourced equity funding – can you access it?

    6 October 2015

    The new Turnbull Cabinet has made clear its intention to support innovation, so that Australia can have a thriving economy. The Treasury has already done some work in this area, releasing a consultation paper on crowd-sourcing equity funding (CSEF) for startups and small business.

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  • Fact sheet: The term sheet decoded

    24 September 2015

    The term sheet is the key document that determines the basis on which VCs and other investors will invest in your startup. This means that it's crucial to get the basics right from the outset.

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  • Focus: Ashley Madison - litigation risks exposed

    15 September 2015

    The recent hacking of website AshleyMadison.com has exposed the website's parent companies to lawsuits in the US and Canada and has attracted the attention of the Australian Privacy Commissioner. The Ashley Madison hack will undoubtedly fuel the perception that threats to privacy are growing in the digital age. Partner Gavin Smith, Senior Associate Aleisha Brown and Law Graduate Shelley Drenth examine the litigation risks that stem from incidents of cyber-attack or data breach.

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  • Fact sheet: Growing your team: working with interns in your startup

    28 July 2015

    Many startups look to grow their team by engaging interns, work experience students and other unpaid workers.

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  • Fact sheet: What's mine is mine - protecting your million-dollar idea

    8 July 2015

    At the core of many successful startups is a simple but brilliant idea.

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  • Fact sheet: What price to pay for social media in the workplace?

    24 June 2015

    There's an assumption that everyone is on social media these days, even when they're at work – and they probably are. Many startups embrace social media, but, as an employer, you will need to understand and manage the risks that come with the use of social media in the workplace.

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  • Fact sheet: Sharing is caring - but it may also be taxable!

    10 June 2015

    A current trend in our society is our willingness to share, whether it be our home, office, or our time. This 'sharing economy' is set to grow, and with that growth comes increased ATO scrutiny.

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  • Fact sheet: Reap the benefits from your R&D investment

    2 June 2015

    Grasping tax in the early days of your business is essential – you want to ensure you are keeping everything above board, while not paying unnecessary tax or, importantly, missing opportunities to apply tax offset mechanisms to your business.

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  • Focus: Privacy Awareness Week Update

    14 May 2015

    To coincide with Privacy Awareness Week, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner has released a number of business resources, a Privacy Management Framework to assist businesses to comply with their obligations under the Australian Privacy Principles, and the results of its audit of the online privacy policies of 20 Australian and international organisations. The OAIC has also made some announcements regarding its next areas of focus. Partner Gavin Smith, Senior Associate Valeska Bloch and Lawyer Tom Kavanagh report on these updates and how they might affect your business.

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  • Focus: GST on offshore services and intangible supplies

    14 May 2015

    GST is to be applied to the supply of services and other intangibles by non-residents to Australian consumers under legislation proposed to apply from 1 July 2017. This will include the supply of digital products and the supply of other services. The liability for GST on such supplies made through an electronic marketplace will be shifted from the supplier to the operator of the marketplace in certain circumstances. Partner Adrian Chek and Senior Associate Jennee Chan report.

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  • Focus: Australia's new Multinational Anti-avoidance Law moves ahead of OECD consensus

    14 May 2015

    The Government has announced as part of the Budget that it will introduce a new multinational anti-avoidance law into Part IVA of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936. The new law will apply to tax benefits obtained on or after 1 January 2016. It is aimed at 30 identified multinationals with Australian sales agency arrangements that the Government claims may artificially avoid having a taxable presence in Australia - and will seek to subject them to income tax, withholding tax and penalties as if they did have such a presence. An exposure draft of the new Multinational Anti-Avoidance Law (MAAL) legislation and Explanatory Material has been released (with submissions due by 9 June 2015). Partner Toby Knight and Senior Associate Jennifer Richards outline the proposed new measure and explore its implications.

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  • Client Update: Federal Budget 2015: Start-ups in the spotlight

    13 May 2015

    With a $5.5 billion 'Jobs and Small Business Package', Treasurer Joe Hockey placed start-ups and small businesses front-and-centre of the Australian Federal Government’s 2015-16 Budget. Partner Gavin Smith, Senior Associates Valeska Bloch and Shaun Cartoon and Associate Tom Griffin look at the key elements affecting start-ups.

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  • Focus: Your 'Metadata' as Personal Information

    7 May 2015

    In a decision published this week, the Australian Privacy Commissioner has clarified that 'metadata' may be personal information, when an organisation has the capacity and resources to link that information to an individual. Partner Michael Pattison, Associate Priyanka Nair and Law Graduate Leah Wickman report on the Commissioner's determination, which found that Telstra breached the Privacy Act by failing to provide an individual with access to his metadata.

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  • Focus: Digital first: Government releases alpha Digital Service Standard

    4 May 2015

    The Australian Government has released its alpha Digital Service Standard, which establishes criteria that all Australian digital government services must meet to ensure they are simpler, faster and easier to use. The Digital Service Standard is part of the Coalition government's push to deliver government services digitally from start to finish. In this article, Partner Ian McGill, Senior Associate Valeska Bloch and Associate Byron Frost examine the Digital Service Standard and its impact on government agencies and service providers.

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  • Focus: Update strengthens legal avenues for online copyright rights holders

    24 April 2015

    Telecommunications industry body the Communications Alliance has submitted an updated Copyright Notice Scheme to allow rights holders to better use existing legal avenues to defend their rights. The updated Notice Scheme resolves a number of issues that were left open when the first draft of the Notice Scheme was published in February. Partner Andrew Wiseman and Lawyer Ben Murphy report.

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  • Focus: United States implements novel sanctions regime to combat cyber threats

    22 April 2015

    President Barack Obama has issued an Executive Order enabling the US Department of Treasury to implement targeted sanctions against foreign individuals or entities whose cyber-enabled activities result in significant threats to the national security, foreign policy, economic health or financial stability of the US, irrespective of their nationality. Partners Rachel Nicolson and Gavin Smith, Associate Andrew Wilcock and Law Graduate Alice Crawford report on the possible implications of this novel measure.

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  • Focus: Website-blocking injunctions to prevent online piracy

    14 April 2015

    In an effort to reduce the rate of online copyright infringement, the Australian Government has introduced a Bill that will allow copyright owners to apply for an injunction requiring internet service providers to take steps to block piracy websites from their users. Senior Associate Jonathan Adamopoulos and Lawyer William Coote report on the features and implications of the Bill.

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  • Focus: Federal Government passes wide-ranging data retention laws

    8 April 2015

    Telecommunications and internet service providers will incur significant new compliance costs under the Federal Government's controversial new data retention laws. Following a wave of criticism of the Government's original proposals, a number of important changes were made to the original Bill during its passage through Parliament, including the introduction of safeguards on access to the retained data by government agencies and concessions made to protect journalists' confidential sources. Partner Gavin Smith, Lawyer Brydon Wang, and Law Graduate Leah Wickman report on what the new regime means for the telecommunications industry.

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  • Client Update: ASIC highlights importance of cyber resilience

    1 April 2015

    Key cyber risks faced by ASIC's 'regulated population', as well as the legal and compliance obligations to manage those risks, are highlighted in a new ASIC report. ASIC also identifies steps entities can take to address the risks. The report marks a growing focus on cyber security issues by ASIC, which is consistent with an increased focus on this area by regulators globally. Partner Michael Morris and Senior Associate Simun Soljo report.

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  • Focus: First enforceable undertaking under new privacy laws

    31 March 2015

    Optus has become the first organisation to enter into an enforceable undertaking with the Privacy Commissioner since reforms to the Privacy Act took effect in March 2014. Partner Michael Pattison and Associate Byron Frost examine the circumstances surrounding Optus's voluntary data breach notifications, the terms of the undertaking and its significance.

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  • Linklaters Insights: China promotes innovation and development of cloud computing

    27 March 2015

    The State Council has called for local governments and ministries to develop the cloud computing industry in order to harness its ability to optimise the allocation of IT and data resources in accordance with market demand.

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  • Focus: Gradual steps towards online copyright infringement reform

    19 March 2015

    Telecommunications industry body the Communications Alliance has released a draft industry code that would introduce a copyright infringement notice scheme for internet service providers. The scheme is an incremental development of existing telecommunications and copyright regulation that seeks to allow rights holders to better use existing legal avenues to defend their rights without fundamentally altering the liability of internet service providers. Partner Andrew Wiseman, Senior Associate Matt Vitins and Lawyer Ben Murphy report.

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  • Client Update: Data deal - mandatory data breach notification laws to be introduced as trade-off for controversial metadata retention regime

    5 March 2015

    The Federal Government, in a surprising and highly significant move for companies in Australia, has committed to enacting a mandatory data breach notification scheme before the end of 2015, which will apply to all Australian companies currently subject to the Privacy Act. The proposal is not limited to telecommunications service providers and will represent a significant new compliance burden and increase the overall cost to companies of handling data security incidents. Partner Gavin Smith, Senior Associate Valeska Bloch and Lawyer Isabelle Guyot report.

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  • Unravelled: A new dawn for crowd sourced equity funding?

    5 February 2015

    CAMAC and the FSI have acknowledged that the current Australian regulatory settings are hostile to crowd sourced equity funding. A recently released Treasury Discussion Paper has considered three options for law reform and what each might mean for the development of this innovative form of capital raising.

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