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by: Paul Ragusa - Tuesday, February 12, 2019

You don’t have to look too hard to find a sobering example of cybercrime, as it's as pervasive as ever these days, even on the national level with recent reports that cyber criminals have access to critical infrastructure such as our national power grids and gas lines. The good news, though, is technology may be our best weapon against these invisible criminals.

In fact, the use of big data and blockchain technologies are key to fighting cybercrime, according to a new study from Frost & Sullivan that looks at how effective machine learning is in aiding early detection of cyber anomalies, and how good blockchain is at creating a trustworthy network between endpoints.

Frost and Sullivan noted that the rise of the Internet of Things has opened up numerous points of vulnerabilities, compelling cybersecurity companies, especially startups, to develop innovative solutions to protect enterprises from emerging threats. As cybercrime becomes more sophisticated and even a method of warfare, the research firm found, technologies such as machine learning, big data, and blockchain will become prominent.

"Deploying Big Data solutions is essential for companies to expand the scope of cybersecurity solutions beyond detection and mitigation of threats,” Hiten Shah, research analyst, TechVision, said in the announcement of the findings. "This technology can proactively predict breaches before they happen, as well as uncover patterns from past incidents to support policy decisions."

The study, Envisioning the Next-Generation Cybersecurity Practices, presents an overview of cybersecurity in enterprises and analyzes the drivers and challenges to the adoption of best practices in cybersecurity. It also covers the technologies impacting the future of cybersecurity and the main purchase factors.

"Startups need to make their products integrable with existing products and solutions as well as bundle their solutions with market-leading solutions from well-established companies," noted Shah. "Such collaborations will lead to mergers and acquisitions, ultimately enabling companies to provide more advanced solutions."

Technologies that are likely to find the most application opportunities include:

•    Big Data: It enables automated risk management and predictive analytics. Its  adoption will be mostly driven by the need to identify usage and behavioral patterns to help security operations spot anomalies.
•    Machine Learning: It allows security teams to prioritize corrective actions and automate real-time analysis of multiple variables. Using the vast pools of data collected by companies, machine-learning algorithms can zero in on the root cause of the attack and fix detected anomalies in the network.
•    Blockchain: The data stored on blockchain cannot be manipulated or erased by design. The tractability of activities performed on blockchain is integral to establishing a trustworthy network between endpoints. Furthermore, the decentralized nature of blockchain greatly increases the cost of breaching blockchain-based networks, which discourages hackers.

Envisioning the Next-Generation Cybersecurity Practices is part of Frost & Sullivan’s global Information & Communication Growth Partnership Service program.

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by: Paul Ragusa - Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Two major security industry accolades—the Sara E. Jackson Memorial award and the Morris F. Weinstock Person of the Year award—were given out at the Electronic Security Association’s Leadership Summit, Jan. 28-31, in Austin, Texas.

ESA President Chris Mosley presented Don Childers of Security Central with the Sara E. Jackson Memorial Award during the first Main Stage session at Leadership Summit. Childers gave a heartfelt speech thanking the many people he has worked with during his years in the industry. Click here to see the video of the presentation. This award is sponsored by Resideo.

Mosley also presented Angela White, immediate past president of ESA, with the 2019 Morris F. Weinstock Person of the Year Award. White thanked the people who nominated her and the past recipients of the award, as well as everyone who she has worked with along the way to give her this opportunity. Click here to see the video of the award presentation. This award is sponsored by Interlogix.

Each year, executives from the electronic security and life safety industry gather for the ESA Leadership Summit network with each other, learn keys to success from other industries, and develop their leadership skillset.

Jillian Bateman, ESA chief development officer, told Security Systems News, “We try to be a very, very efficient leadership event—one that is strategic about the interactions we foster.”
 
In addition to interactive sessions that delved into key industry topics and issues of the day, the summit also featured the ESA’s Rising Leaders Forum and an online networking portal to help facilitate beneficial meetings, which was fully launched for the first time this year.

“It’s able to help pair folks on interests,” Bateman said. “Whether an attendee wants to meet with another attendee on, maybe, some issues that they're having with technicians that they can brainstorm and talk through, or, if they want to meet a vendor on a new product that they have, they can do that as well.”

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by: Paul Ragusa - Tuesday, January 29, 2019

On Data Privacy Day yesterday, the Security Industry Association (SIA) shared details on how it is helping member companies and the industry at large understand and manage the critical issue of protecting consumer data. Through the efforts of the SIA Data Privacy Advisory Board, the association has produced a number of essential resources for this critical issue.

SIA has taken a leading position on privacy issues for many years, having released its original Privacy Framework in 2010, and has become even more active recently, starting with the 2017 creation of the SIA Data Privacy Advisory Board. SIA is also working with companies such as ADT to bring greater awareness of the importance of data privacy.

Recently, SIA has also:
     • Published white papers on “Data Privacy and Security Trends for 2018” and “Big Data and Privacy for Physical Security”
     • Presented a webinar on “Privacy 101: The Importance of Protecting Customer Data”
     • Produced fact sheets, a list of references and videos on the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
     • Submitted comments to the National Institute of Standards and Technology on its Privacy Framework proposal
     • Organized a panel discussion on data privacy for an integrators’ conference

In addition, SIA is conducting a survey of its members to gauge industry opinions about data privacy and to identify future SIA activities and programs.

With the GDPR now in effect, California having passed the Consumer Privacy Act, and many members of Congress and state lawmakers considering data privacy legislation, SIA CEO Don Erickson said that the association is stressing to its members that they should get ahead of potential regulations rather than wait and react to them.

“It is vital that members of the security industry ensure that their business practices—as well as their products and services—are designed in a way that protects data and consumer privacy,” Erickson said. “One of SIA’s top priorities is helping the industry to understand that this is not just a matter of regulatory compliance, but also one of customer service and, even, business development. We are committed to providing resources and guidance that will enable them to view data privacy challenges not as a crisis but, rather, an opportunity.”

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The role of voice within security is certainly growing, especially on the residential side of the equation, but as a recent study finds, consumers are embracing the power of the voice to control their phones, cars, homes and even security systems.

In fact, standalone voice assistants—or smart speakers—are one of the fastest-adopted technologies in U.S. history and have a 98 percent satisfaction rate among U.S. consumers, according to a new research report from Accenture based on a global survey of 22,500 consumers across 21 countries. Half of online consumers globally now use digital voice assistants, with emerging markets leading the way in adoption, the research firm found.
 
“Adoption and satisfaction with smart speaker technology is booming,” Robin Murdoch, co-author of the report and managing director of Accenture’s global Software and Platforms industry practice, said. “Convenience and accessible price points are helping drive increased use but maintaining this loyalty will require companies to stay relevant with consumer needs while creating and constantly renewing trust.”
 
The report, “Reshape to Relevance,” notes that smart speakers are disrupting the consumer technology and service ecosystems. Accenture found that 93 percent of consumers globally expect their home device purchases, such as smart TVs or computers, to be based on ease of integration with their standalone smart speaker.
 
The relevance of smart speakers is reflected in consumers’ expectations to use these devices for more-advanced tasks beyond routine activities like voice calling, playing music or eBooks, and accessing news, Accenture note. “They see value in voice assistants managing home security (61 percent of respondents), providing connected home automation (59 percent), paying bills and providing payment alerts (55 percent)—even making restaurant reservations (53 percent) and providing access to virtual medical advice (52 percent).
 
“However, trust is a potential impediment to greater adoption of smart speakers, with 41 percent of consumers citing privacy concerns and 40 percent citing security concerns with the technology. Forty-six percent of consumers believe they don’t have control of their data with voice assistants and 58 percent are more likely to re-evaluate their trust in this service by continually checking how their information is being used.”
 
Greg Roberts, another co-author of the report and managing director of Accenture’s North America High Tech industry practice, said, “Consumers expect their smart speakers to handle complex workloads and integrate with other products. Brands that offer advanced artificial intelligence capabilities will be well positioned for success. But to attract more customers, they will have to be transparent in how they store, use and share data. Establishing an agreed trust standard with consumers is essential.”

Accenture Research conducted an online survey of 22,500 consumers in 21 countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, the Netherlands, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States. The sample in each country was representative of the online population. Ages of respondents ranged from 14 to over 55. The survey and related data modeling quantify consumer perceptions of digital devices, content and services, purchasing patterns, preference and trust in service providers, and the future of their connected lifestyles. The online surveys were conducted between October and November 2018.
 
 

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Creating safer schools is a major dilemma facing our nation today, but thankfully it is one that some of the best minds are coming together to solve. The Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS) has taken a major step by creating safety and security guidelines and standards of practice that all schools can turn to and follow, guidelines and standards that come from lessons learned from past tragedies and ones that were averted, and from experiences and expertise from leaders in security and education, and from parents and students.

The fourth edition of its Safety and Security Guidelines for K-12 Schools provides school administrators, school boards and public safety and security professionals with guidelines for implementing a layered and tiered approach to securing and enhancing the safety of school environments.

Guy Grace Jr., PASS chairman and director of security and emergency planning for Littleton Public Schools, is leading this effort. The Security Industry Association (SIA) named Grace as the 2018 recipient of the SIA Insightful Practitioner Award, an honor recognizing excellence in promoting the implementation of innovative security solutions.

Grace began providing district services to LPS in 1990 and was soon promoted to patrolman, then lead officer and security facilitator before assuming his current role. He has created and assisted with developing many security-related projects, protocols and practices used today in school safety for both LPS and other school districts.

“The safety and security challenges schools face today are more multifaceted and complex than ever before, and protecting students and staff requires a comprehensive approach to these challenges,” Grace said in the announcement of the new PASS standards. “We are proud to build on the PASS guidelines, which present the most comprehensive information available on best practices for securing school facilities, an essential component supporting all-hazards approaches to school safety.”

The fourth edition of the guidelines is completely revised under a simplified structure and greatly expanded to now cover best practices on a district-wide level that relate to safety and security and additional areas such as school transportation, cybersecurity and network infrastructure, architectural features and emergency communications.

The PASS Guidelines identify and classify best practices for securing K-12 facilities in response to urgent needs for information identified by the education community. The guidelines aim to answer two key questions – “What should we do?” and “How do we prioritize?” – and include:

•    Specific actions that can effectively raise the baseline of security;
•    Vetted security practices specific to K-12 environments;
•    Objective, reliable information on available safety and security technology;
•    Assessment of current security measures against nationwide best practices;
•    Multiple options for addressing security needs identified; and
•    How to distinguish needed and effective solutions from sales pitches on unnecessary products.

The guidelines describe approaches within five physical layers for school facilities: district-wide, the property perimeter, the parking lot perimeter, the building perimeter and the classroom/interior perimeter. Within each layer, the resource outlines key safety and security components, such as policies and procedures, people (roles and training), architectural components, communication, access control, video surveillance and detection and alarms.

“We believe this approach provides a simplified way for administrators to effectively evaluate their security infrastructure, prioritize investment and maximize security in ways that are consistent with longstanding security practices and ensure a baseline of facility security measures appropriate for school facilities,” Mark Williams, PASS vice chairman, said in the press release.

Established in 2014, PASS brings together expertise from the education community, law enforcement and the security industry to develop and support a coordinated approach that can assist school administrators in making effective use of proven security practices specific to K-12 environments, including elementary, middle and high schools.

The latest guidelines are available at no cost on the PASS website, and PASS encourages education professionals, public safety personnel and security solutions providers to take advantage of these free resources.
 

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, January 9, 2019

ADS Security, a regional electronic security and automation company based in Nashville, Tenn., has revealed they surpassed $4 million in RMR in 2018, including a record-setting eight companies in 2018, surpassing the previous record of seven acquisitions in 2016.

ADS achieved this mark through strong organic growth driven by a focus on providing legendary service and by maintaining a large acquisition pipeline.

 “2018 was the best year in ADS’s history,” John Cerasuolo, president and CEO, swaid in the announcement. “We have built a strong culture and team of people who care about providing legendary service to our customers and to the security company owners we acquire. We are not slowing down and expect 2019 to be another record-setting year.”

After its inception in 1990, ADS achieved $2 million in RMR in 2012 and now has doubled that monthly revenue in about a quarter of the time. ADS Security’s $4 million in RMR is made up of more than 100,000 residential and commercial customer sites spread over 25 branch locations throughout the southeastern United States.

With a UL-listed monitoring center located in Nashville, ADS Security offers a full range of burglar, fire alarm, video surveillance, access control, and automation systems.

Cerasuolo told Security Systems News after the company’s latest acquisition back in December, that he us excited for similar growth in 2019.

“We have very high expectations for 2019. We’ve got a good number of deals that are in various stages along the process. So, we expect to come out of the gate pretty strong in 2019, in terms and acquisitions,” he said. “There’s no reason not to expect that we’ll have similar kind of results in [2019] that we had this year.”

by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, January 2, 2019

ASSA ABLOY recently announced its new Preferred Installer program to help streamline deployments for installers and systems integrators.

Building on decades of experience in the higher education market, ASSA ABLOY has developed a national network of Intertek certified hardware installers who are highly skilled in providing physical installation of its integrated electronic locking devices.

“Systems integrators, who often face staff shortages, can take advantage of this network of installers to maximize their efficiency,” the company said in the announcement, noting that the ability to outsource this skill helps improve productivity, ensure a quality installation, and create a competitive advantage. “What’s more, when contracted through ASSA ABLOY, an additional year of warranty is provided for products installed by Preferred Installers. This program also helps end-users meet their deadlines, provides peace of mind with high-quality installations, and protects their investment with an extended warranty.”

Preferred Installers go through a rigorous, four-day hands-on training course given by ASSA ABLOY instructors.
 
“We have attended many a training class, and this is hands down the only class offered that is truly a hands-on course with an instructor that is more than qualified to teach,” Chad Smith, chief of operations at ACME Security Solutions, LLC, said in the announcement. “We had an amazing learning experience, and this is all owed to the instructor, who took this training above and beyond our expectations.”

ASSA ABLOY Preferred Installers are third-party certified by Intertek, which means the technicians are qualified to field prep Warnock Hersey labeled fire doors for the installation of specific ASSA ABLOY integrated locks and accessories while retaining the door’s fire resistance rating and compliance with NFPA 80. In addition, Intertek Qualified Personnel may apply supplemental serialized labels to doors they’ve prepped and after ASSA ABLOY hardware has been installed. This signifies to Authorities Having Jurisdiction and Fire Door Inspectors that the installation was completed in accordance with NFPA guidelines.

“The Intertek Qualified Personnel (IQP) ASSA ABLOY Hardware Installer program provides assurance that personnel conducting work in the field are fully qualified and that the work is done correctly each and every time,” Justin Hendricks, program manager - Openings Building & Construction, Intertek. “Participation in the program is also crucial to maintaining the door’s Intertek fire resistance rating and subsequent compliance with NFPA 80 guidelines.”

Lester LaPierre, director of business development, Electronic Access Control, ASSA ABLOY Door Security Solutions added: “ASSA ABLOY has provided installation services for many years across the country at our largest installations incorporating thousands of electronic access control locksets. We’ve learned that the outcome of each of those projects was quality workmanship and high productivity. This resulted in timelines being met, site issues and product returns being reduced, and, most importantly, satisfied integrators, general contractors, and end users. That’s why we’re expanding and formalizing this program so those same benefits can be applied across all opportunities.”

ASSA ABLOY Certified Integrators interested in using a Preferred Installer can simply log on to the Partner Area of www.IntelligentOpenings.com to find the Installation Services Quote Request form to begin the process. For dedicated hardware installation professionals interested in joining the ASSA ABLOY Preferred Installer network, please contact Lester LaPierre (lester.lapierre@assaabloy.com).
 

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Security Systems News is excited to announce the hiring of Ginger Schlueter as the new managing editor of the publication. Ginger brings three years of prior security industry reporting experience, as well as a proven track record in both print and online media, with particular expertise in social media.

As Ginger says in her first blog post today, she is happy to be back in the security industry after spending a few years away as a freelancer.

“I have fond memories of the security industry, and although a lot has changed and I have some re-learning to do, I’m refreshed and ready to take it on,” she said.

As I have been told by many in the industry, and as I told Ginger, “Once you’ve worked in the security industry, you can’t leave—it keeps pulling you back in.” Many in the industry I am sure can relate to this sentiment.

And while SSN is forever grateful to former managing editor Spencer Ives for the outstanding work he did here at the publication (good luck Spencer in your next endeavor!), we here at SSN are excited to have Ginger joining the team!
 

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The Board of Directors of Digital Systems Corporation, the parent company of Galaxy Control Systems, a leading provider of integrated access control and security solutions, announced the appointment of Rick Caruthers to the position of president at Galaxy Control Systems. Effective immediately, this appointment reflects the company’s long-term planning and succession strategies.

“Rick has essentially been working in the capacity as president of Galaxy Control Systems for the past several years, and with this appointment will be able to execute his vision and goals for the company,” Robert Laughlin, chairman of Digital Systems Corporation, said in the announcement. “After 17 years of proven service and dedication to Galaxy Control Systems, we are most confident that Rick is the person best suited to be at the helm of this organization moving forward.”

Caruthers’ extensive experience and proven track record in the professional security industry spans over 28 years, where his career was initiated on the integration side of the business then migrated into the manufacturing space. Over 17 years to date, Caruthers has risen through the ranks in positions ranging from regional sales manager, government sales director, vice president of sales, executive vice president, to his current role as president of Galaxy Control Systems.

“I am extremely honored with the Board’s decision to entrust me with the continued expansion and growth of Galaxy Control Systems,” Caruthers said in the announcement. “There are so many exciting opportunities that lie ahead for Galaxy as we continue to evolve and supplement our portfolio of on-premise based and cloud access control solutions, and expand internationally. And we will maintain our focus on the core values that have propelled Galaxy Control Systems over the years, including exceptional customer service and outstanding quality hardware and software offerings that will remain designed, developed and manufactured in-house in the USA.”

The Galaxy Control Systems portfolio is centered on the company’s System Galaxy v11.02 and Cloud Concierge access control platforms, which accommodate the latest reader technologies and technology trends, as well as holistic VMS integration. The versatile offering provides resellers and users with the unique ability to implement the access control solution that best fits their specific needs and budget.

Caruthers told Security Systems News that some of his short-term goals for the company include bringing both the on-premises and cloud solutions together to provide one platform.

“Early on, our cloud development team worked to get the product up and running so I had two engineering efforts—our on-premises team and our cloud team,” he explained. “What we are doing now is merging the two together, so our focus is to let everyone know that the Galaxy product can be used on premises and in the cloud. We are basically building a platform around the philosophy that the only thing you need to decide is where your database is going to reside: Is it going to reside on a server on site, or is it going to reside in a hosted cloud environment, or in a hybrid set-up?”

He continued, “So all of the tools, the web interfaces, the client stations—every bit of the software behind that—works simultaneously and seamlessly with both. So we are moving those two platforms to one starting in 2019 and hope to have our software in at least a beta format by ISC West, along with a couple of new mobile apps.”

A key long-term effort is “strengthening our core intelligence inside our technology group to reflect that next generation of developers that is going to take us to the next 20 years,” said Caruthers, who noted that more and more clients are embracing cloud-based solutions.

“While SMB companies are certainly embracing cloud, some of our bigger corporate clients are adopting cloud for all of their applications,” he noted. “And many are doing it for cost savings, especially when considering the continual investments in refreshing servers and hardware that are required with on premises data centers or server rooms."

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, December 5, 2018

ONVIF, a global standardization initiative for IP-based physical security products, celebrated its 10th anniversary at its annual membership meeting in early November, reflecting on its past while looking to the future.

Attendees heard presentations on the final release of Profile T in 2018, an advancement that represents how ONVIF keeps pace with technological advancements that affect product development and interoperability between IP-based physical security products.

In an acknowledgement of its 10th anniversary, ONVIF chairman Per Björkdahl highlighted the forum’s achievements over the past decade, including an overview of the six ONVIF profiles, with emphasis on the newly released Profile T for advanced video streaming. Collectively, the profiles provide support for the more than 10,000 conformant products that are increasingly included in various bid and specification processes in projects around the world, he said. Björkdahl also cited the continued involvement of ONVIF as part of the work of the International Electrotechnical Commission’s TC79 for international standardization.

ONVIF also recognized the contributions of four individuals from various ONVIF technical committees for their work on different profiles and committees. Fredrik Svensson of Axis and Dora Han of Hikvision were recipients of the ONVIF award, which acknowledges individuals and companies who have made significant contributions to ONVIF. As chairman of the Profile T Working Group, Svensson was a leading force in the development and successful final release of the Profile T specification. Han received the award for her extensions to the specification, and for supporting the development of other members’ extensions to the specification.

One of two 2018 ONVIF Distinguished Service Awards was given to Baldvin Gislason Bern of Axis for his role in developing and proofing the evolution concept as chair of the Technical Services Device Test Tool Evolution. Joining him in receiving this award is Dr. Hasan Timucin Ozdemir of Panasonic, who served as chairman from 2009-2018 of the ONVIF Video Enhancement Working Group, which is responsible for formulating and prototyping new features for the ONVIF specification.

“All of our honorees have shown their significant and long-term commitment to the organization as a whole, and in turn have directly and positively impacted the work of ONVIF,” said Björkdahl. “The success of our organization would not be possible without the innovative contributions and hard work of our members, and for that, we say thank you.”

ONVIF Technical Committee chairman, Hans Busch of Bosch, spoke to members about the specification development roadmap and its alignment to the standardization activities within the IEC TC 79 working groups for video surveillance and physical access control standards. Technical Services Committee (TSC) chair Andreas Schneider of Sony gave an overview of the committee’s work on new and existing profiles, client and device test tools, updates to the conformance process and tools and Developers’ Plugfests.

ONVIF Communication Committee chair, Tim Shen of Dahua, provided a recap of ONVIF communication efforts in 2018, with a continued focus on market education about the specific profiles through presence at industry events and media activity. He also reported on the success of the first ever ONVIF Open Source Spotlight Challenge that took place earlier this year.

At the meeting, the results of the annual elections for committees of ONVIF were announced by ONVIF executive director Kevin Schader. Re-elected to the ONVIF Steering Committee were Mayur Salgar of Honeywell and Stuart Rawling of Pelco by Schneider Electric. For the Technical Committee, Hanwha Techwin’s Sujith Raman, Pelco by Schneider Electric’s Steve Wolf, and Tyco Security Product’s Stephen Serplus were re-elected, while Hikvision’s Dora Han joined the committee as a new member. Bob Dolan of Anixter and Giri Guntipalli of Honeywell were re-elected to the Technical Services Committee, along with new member Marwan Obeidat of Pelco by Schneider Electric. Tim Shen of Dahua, Jens Berthelsen of Hikvision and Xinming Kang of Honeywell were re-elected to the ONVIF Communication Committee, while Cathy Zhou of Huawei joined the committee as a new member. Founding members Axis, Bosch and Sony automatically retain seats on the Steering, Technical and Technical Services Committees.

Founded in 2008, ONVIF is an industry forum driving interoperability for IP-based physical security products. The organization has a global member base of established camera, video management system and access control companies and more than 10,000 profile conformant products. ONVIF offers Profile S for streaming video; Profile G for recording and storage; Profile C for physical access control; Profile Q for improved out-of-the-box functionality, Profile A for broader access control configuration and Profile T for advanced streaming. ONVIF continues to work with its members to expand the number of IP interoperability solutions ONVIF conformant products can provide.

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