Cyber Vigilantes Claim to Have Unmasked LulzSec Members

By  on June 19, 2011

Cyber Vigilantes Claim to Have Unmasked LulzSec MembersSeveral “gray-hat” hackers are mounting an effort to unmask the persons behind Lulz Security, the group responsible for a rash of brazen attacks and breaches over the past month.

Among the cyber vigilantes are The Jester (a.k.a. Th3j35t3r), a self-described ex-military gray-hat hacker who has previously attacked Wikileaks and 4chan, and a group calling itself Web Ninjas who are documenting their search on the LulzSec Exposed website.

The evidence compiled by The Jester and Web Ninjas includes purported chat logs of LulzSec’s private IRC channel, as well as circumstantial evidence identifying the members of LulzSec and their alleged true identities. They say they have passed on the information to the FBI.

We have previously speculated that LulzSec is a throwback to Anonymous‘ more anarchic past, perhaps formed by a few skilled Anons who grew weary of the hacker collective’s political pretension. The information presented by The Jester and Web Ninjas seems to corroborate this.

(MORE: ‘We Do It for the Lulz’: What Makes LulzSec Tick?)

Two weeks ago, LulzSec tweeted, “This is the guy that paid us to hack,” and pointed to the account of Branndon Pike, a 21-year-old from Daytona, Florida, who is a former Anonymous contributor. He told Fox News that LulzSec was pranking him because they were upset he had linked them to Anonymous.

Last week, someone anonymously posted to the Full Disclosure computer security mailing list a chat log of a conversation between LulzSec members . LulzSec responded to the leak, thereby confirming the log’s authenticity, stating that the compromised channel was only used “to recruit talent for side-operations” and that their main channel remained untouched.

Mentioning handles present in the chat log, LulzSec said that “people such as joepie91/Neuron/Storm/trollpoll/voodoo are not involved with LulzSec, they just hang out with us in that channel.” This implied that the handles they did not mention—including “Kayla” and “Topiary”—are indeed members of LulzSec.

(MORE: As LulzSec Claims CIA Coup, ‘Anonymous’ Hackers Arrested Worldwide)

Kayla is a name previously linked to Anonymous and its attacks on computer security firm HBGary. In March, she gave an interview to Forbes in which she disclosed her involvement with Anonymous and many personal details. Web Ninjas and The Jester claim that Kayla is actually a man.

Topiary is also a name linked to Anonymous. After the Anonymous attacks on the Westboro Baptist Church, an Anonymous representative debated a church leader on the David Pakman show. A widely circulated video of the exchange shows the name “Topiary” as the Anonymous spokesman’s Skype username.

This week a public radio producer called the seemingly untraceable phone number at which LulzSec has been taking calls, and recorded his conversation with members of the group. One of the LulzSec voices sounds like the voice of Topiary and has a similar European accent.

Web Ninjas have also posted photos and details of several other persons who they say correspond to the handles on the chat logs, including that of a man said to be “Sabu,” the supposed leader of LulzSec. “We do have his name, address, location and work but we are not publishing,” Web Ninjas said.

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Forget .com, here’s .coke

ICANN to allow new generic 'dot-brand' domains

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — The trusty old Internet addresses we know and love — the .coms, .nets, .orgs — are about to get some new competition.

Global Internet regulators met Monday in Singapore to finalize rules for a major expansion of “generic top-level domains,” that will clear the way for new offerings like .law, .coke or .nyc. Sites with those endings are expected to start rolling out late next year.

“Today’s decision will usher in a new Internet age,” said Peter Dengate Thrush, chairman of ICANN’s Board of Directors. “We have provided a platform for the next generation of creativity and inspiration.”

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers — the non-profit, global coordinator of the Internet’s naming system — has for years been kicking around the idea of suffixes for brand names, cities and general keywords. But because changes to the Internet’s domain structure have complex and global ramifications, ICANN moves toward them at a glacial pace.

Way back in 2000, the organization decided to expand the domain-name system. Since then, it has gradually rolled out a handful of new domains, including the controversial .xxx domain that got the green light in March.

6 milestones in Web history

Early Monday ICANN approved a plan that will open the floodgates and accept hundreds of applications for new domains. Potential competition is keeping most organizations from disclosing their plans, but a few have gone public with their interest: .nyc.parisUnicef, Deloitte, Hitachi andCanon.

“The way things are now, technically anyone can buy a dot-com domain to imply a relationship with a brand,” says Ben Crawford, CEO of dotBrand Solutions, a recently launched consulting and services company.

Crawford is also the head of CentralNic, a London-based domain registry and the parent company of dotBrand Solutions. He set up the offshoot company to get an early toehold in a market that’s non-existent now but could soon be doing big business.

Crawford thinks dot-brand sites will be a hit with major companies. In addition to marketing benefits, they could help on the security front: HSBC, for example, could tell customers that a purported HSBC site isn’t legitimate unless it ends in .hsbc. And a company like Verizon (VZFortune 500) could market products at cellphones.verizon and store locations at losangeles.verizon.

But these benefits don’t come cheaply — or easily. ICANN charges at $185,000 per domain application, which Crawford says typically must include about 150 pages of policy documents.

Technical setup takes another $100,000 or so, he says, and upkeep can cost an additional $100,000 each year.

ICANN is slated to begin reviewing applications in November or December, and says that new domains should roll out in July 2012.

“Given how long this all has taken, that could easily slip to the end of next year,” Crawford quips.

It’s a slow and painstaking process. With domains like .law and .sport, many suitors may be battling for the same coveted keyword. So if multiple applicants want a single domain, and ICANN deems them equally worthy, it goes to auction — which could end up costing millions.

And even if two keywords aren’t exactly the same, “confusingly similar” domain suffixes are verboten. That is, if an apple farmers’ union grabs .apples, then iPad maker Apple (APPL) would be blocked permanently from registering .apple. To top of page

Facebook helps save woman’s life

A Florida woman who injured herself while doing laundry reached out to a Facebook group for help. WPTV reports.


New web naming rules to change Internet browsing

New web naming rules to change the Internet

(CNN) — Coming soon to a website near you: dot-anything

A group charged with overseeing the development of the Internet voted Monday to relax the rules on website naming conventions — potentially triggering a virtual domain name gold rush to rival the dot-com boom of the late 1990s.

At a meeting in Singapore, the board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers — also known by its acronym ICANN — approved the change to allow domain names using any combination of letters and numbers, including non-Latin characters.

“ICANN has opened the Internet’s naming system to unleash the global human imagination,” said Rod Beckstrom, president and CEO of ICANN. “We hope this allows the domain name system to better serve all of mankind.” MORE

Why some dissatisfied users are shunning Facebook

Evidence suggests a small but increasing number of users may be shunning the site.

Editor’s note: Blake Snow is a freelance writer and media consultant. He lives along Utah’s Wasatch Mountains with his family. Contact information and published works can be found on his website.

(CNN) — There’s no denying the cultural impact of Facebook. It has united almost 700 million people, including most of you reading this, becoming the greatest social introduction platform the world has ever seen.

But there are also some recent signs of “Facebook fatigue.” There is only so much you can do to socialize online, especially after you’ve exhausted your friend list. Some people also complain they’re spending so much time on Facebook that they’re short-changing the rest of their lives.

Evidence suggests a small but increasing number of users — at least in North America, where Facebook use is especially saturated — may be shunning the site. The site lost more than 7 million active users in the United States and Canada last month, according to data from the blog Inside Facebook, although Facebook disputes those figures.

Others are consciously reducing the time they spend on the site.

“I figured out that I wouldn’t look back as an old man and wish I had spent more time on Facebook,” says David Cole, an IT manager from Boston. Cole said he believes the popular social-networking site is a useful tool, but not a replacement for what he calls “realbook” experiences.

“Instead of working on an essay, I would waste time browsing people’s walls,” says Kip Krieger, a college student from Virginia, who like Cole has consciously reduced how much time he spends on Facebook.

On top of that, Facebook has become predictable, Krieger says.

“It’s really gotten to a point where I know pretty much what my friends are going to post. They usually just write the same thing over and over again, and I am getting sick of that.”

Joshua DeRosa, a Salt Lake City graphic artist and former Facebook user, agrees.

“I don’t need to see pics or hear updates about people’s babies,” he says. “I know what babies look like, and while you might think what Junior did was the cutest thing ever, I couldn’t care less.”

Others contacted for this story say constant status updates may inadvertently discourage more meaningful and sensory interactions that can only take place offline.

“My mom quit Facebook because she wanted us to call her on the phone and see her in person more,” says a 29-year-old Provo, Utah, man who wishes to remain anonymous.

Maybe mother knows best. “It’s working,” he says.

Obviously, there are a lot more satisfied customers of Facebook than disgruntled ones. You don’t get to half a billion users by upsetting people. So are these outspoken Facebook shunners a tiny minority or part of a growing trend (or both)?

Facebook won’t say how many users have deleted their accounts, so the trend is difficult to quantify. But if you type “d-e-l-e” into a Google search query, “delete Facebook” is the No. 1 predictive result, meaning it’s a popular search among Google users.

Never mind the numerous pages of related articles on “how to” and “why you should delete” your Facebook account.

Facebook spokesman Barry Schnitt, however, maintains that any such withdrawal is minor and short-lived.

“More often than not, people who deactivate do so temporarily and come back after a break,” he says, “like students pausing to focus on finals or people going camping and not wanting their profile to be untended for a weekend.”

Entrepreneur Max Salzberg, on the other hand, says the exodus is real.

“Thinking that Facebook is forever is like thinking that AOL was the be-all-end-all of the Internet,” he says. “Eventually, everyone will use something else.”

Salzberg hopes you’ll use his upcoming Facebook alternative: a rival site called Diaspora that promises to help keep users’ worlds from colliding.

Diaspora lets users sort friends into groups so updates and photos are shared only with certain people, not everyone on one’s friend list. The idea is that mom, for example, will no longer be privy to the more intimate details of your life.

Still in its alpha, or by-invitation-only phase, Diaspora also has settings that are by default private.

“Since Diaspora is actually made up of a bunch of sites across the Web, it is about sharing in the way you want and letting that drive how you express yourself,” he says. “Giant monolithic social networks don’t make much sense.”

Another Facebook alternative called Path limits users to 50 friends. The goal, says founder (and ex-Facebook exec) Dave Morin, is to promote intimate and memorable sharing.

Still, it’s hard to ignore the social behemoth that Facebook has become, especially since more than half of all Americans now have an account.

“I do feel pressured to participate,” says DeRosa. “People act like you are an alien when you tell them you aren’t on it.”

Toby Bushman, 27, of Southern California, felt so much pressure that she decided to rejoin Facebook, and is glad she did.

“Having that connection with others is a very powerful thing,” she says. “It makes me feel like I’m a part of something bigger and more grand than just my life as a stay-at-home mother.”

Even some of those who grumble about Facebook admit they’ll never completely dump the site. “There are too many people I want to keep in contact with,” says Krieger.

Facebook officials say their service is good for people.

“Facebook can be like broccoli,” Schnitt says. “Everyone can benefit from it but not everyone will want to.

“But you won’t know until you try,” he adds. “Thus, we’d encourage you to sign up and share as little or as much as you want. If you have a good experience, we hope you’ll stay. If not, come back and see us again, because we’re constantly working to improve the service and delight people in ways that aren’t possible offline.”

The Internet of Things: Toolbox to Help Objects Communicating Via the Net

 Increasingly, the things people use on a daily basis can be connected to the Internet. An alarm clock not only rings, but can also switch on the coffee machine while turning on the light. But what is needed to ensure that the Internet of Things operates as efficiently as possible?

Thus far, the Internet has been an arena reserved for people. But now more and more physical objects are being connected to the Internet: we read emails on our mobile telephones, we have electricity meters that report readings automatically, and pulse monitors and running shoes that publish information about our daily jog directly on Facebook.

Tools for collaboration The Internet of Things will introduce new smart objects to our homes. One challenge is to find effective solutions to enable different products to work together. Currently no standardised tools or distribution platforms exist in this area.

A group of Norwegian researchers have been addressing this issue. In the research project Infrastructure for Integrated Services (ISIS) they have created a platform for developing and distributing applications for the Internet of Things. The platform encompasses a programming tool for developers, called Arctis and the website ISIS Store for downloading applications. The project has received funding from the Research Council of Norway’s Large-scale Programme VERDIKT.

Simple programming

Arctis was developed by researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). One of them is postdoctoral researcher Frank Alexander Kraemer.

“In a ‘smart’ everyday life objects and applications often need to be connected to several different communication services, sensors and other components. At the same time they need to respond quickly to changes and the actions of users. This requires very good control over concurrence in the system, which can be difficult to achieve with normal programming,” he explains.

Dr Kraemer believes that the tool will make it easier to create new applications, adapt them to existing applications and update software as necessary.

“Developing a simple application with Arctis can be as easy as fitting together two building blocks, but more advanced applications can also be created, depending on what you are looking for,” Dr Kraemer continues.

Talking to each other

“It is the collaborative system ICE Composition Engine (ICE) that will govern the whole thing and allow the objects to talk to each other,” explains Reidar Martin Svendsen, project manager at the Norwegian telecommunications company the Telenor Group.

ICE can both manage the communication between objects in your home and keep track of any updates. The system is installed on a modem, a decoder or an adapter in the home and provides the user with a local gateway which ensures that the Internet of Things will continue to work even when the user is offline.

Key developers

Telenor is seeking to become an operator for the Internet of Things by acting as a link between developers and end-users. But if the company is to succeed, a sufficient number of developers will need to choose to use its tools.

“We have established our own App Store where talented developers can publish the new applications they create and end-users can buy and download the applications they need. Basically, you can choose software according to your own needs and preferences,” says Mr Svendsen.

The downloaded applications can be combined as needed using a software programme called Puzzle. The Puzzle programme is a user interface to the ICE system.

Safe connections

For the project to flourish, people have to be willing to pay for the applications. There are already many similar applications available online free-of-charge through the data infrastructure platform Pachube, for example. Why are users going to pay for something they can download legally and at no cost?

“It is better if a well-known operator is responsible for critical systems such as house alarms. For these types of systems you should go via the App Store to a supplier you trust. You don’t know anything about the intentions of those who put out programmes free-of-charge on the Internet. But if your system needs updating or you require a service, it is an advantage to be using a reputable, recognised operator,” explains Mr Svendsen.

“On the whole it will be up to the developers to decide what to charge for. At the ISIS Store there are currently a number of applications available that can be downloaded free-of-charge,” he continues. . .


Five New Hot Spots Where Medicine and Technology Will Converge

Medicine and technology are converging in patient care at a faster pace than most people realize. Space age advancements from point-of-care health technologies like telemedicine to medical robots performing surgery are fast becoming commonplace in many hospitals. What’s next?

Ask NJIT Distinguished Professor Atam Dhawan, an electrical engineer and associate dean of the NJIT Albert Dorman Honors College, chair of the the IEEE emerging technology committee, and workshop chair for the upcoming 33rd IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBS) Annual International Conference.

“Our goal is to investigate which biological and biomedical engineering technologies are likely to become important within the next decade,” Dhawan said. “For many people, a healthier tomorrow lies in advancements ranging from biomarkers for early diagnosis and monitoring to neural system engineering.”

Five hot new bioengineering areas follow. According to Dhawan, here is where medicine and electronics come together to have the greatest impact on lives.

  1. “Point of care health care technologies is the way medicine can be delivered in individual situations ranging from health monitoring to telemedicine. All point of health care solutions depend on patients connecting with healthcare professionals via computers. Treating people this way can be beneficial both as a great cost savings but also from a quality standpoint. Within this mindset, nursing engineering is fast becoming a career of the future. So too are health monitoring, e-health, health care information management for disaster situations and more. In this world of point of care technologies, the US will need to find a way to link to better efforts in Europe and the Far East. All these solutions will also depend on computer hardware and software improvements.
  2. Optical imaging technologies will be in greater use for diagnosing and staging of cancer, cardiovascular diseases and other fibrotic diseases. Current molecular imaging/therapy agent research focuses on the discovery and exploration of naturally existing molecular targets of diseases. It also focuses on novel approaches to the best way to exploit differences associated with the molecular targets between normal and diseased states, diagnosis and treatment.
  3. Fast-emerging technological advances in bioelectronics, bio-nano-sensor technology and neural engineering have created exciting advancements in several areas of neuroscience. Advanced technological developments are critical for addressing the challenges of improving basic knowledge of the nervous system, neurophysiology and neurological disorders and to develop devices to interface with neural tissues.
  4. For many people, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine is the wave of the future. The advent of stem cell-based therapies has brought regenerative medicine into an increased focus as part of the modern medicine practice. Gene therapy will also play a greater role in this new world.
  5. Lastly, patients will see more medical or bio-robots becoming an important part of their care. “These robots will develop novel nano micro and macro devices to assist in diagnosis, surgery, prosthetics, rehabilitation and personal assistance,” said Dhawan. “Clinical, therapeutic and surgical applications of medical robots with advanced instrumentation, sensors, actuators and real-time systems could make a revolutionary impact in medicine and health care.”

‘Ultrawideband’ Could Be Future of Medical Monitoring

New research by electrical engineers at Oregon State University has confirmed that an electronic technology called “ultrawideband” could hold part of the solution to an ambitious goal in the future of medicine — health monitoring with sophisticated “body-area networks.”

Such networks would offer continuous, real-time health diagnosis, experts say, to reduce the onset of degenerative diseases, save lives and cut health care costs.

Some remote health monitoring is already available, but the perfection of such systems is still elusive.

The ideal device would be very small, worn on the body and perhaps draw its energy from something as minor as body heat. But it would be able to transmit vast amounts of health information in real time, greatly improve medical care, reduce costs and help to prevent or treat disease.

Sounds great in theory, but it’s not easy. If it were, the X Prize Foundation wouldn’t be trying to develop a Tricorder X Prize — inspired by the remarkable instrument of Star Trek fame — that would give $10 million to whoever can create a mobile wireless sensor that would give billions of people around the world better access to low-cost, reliable medical monitoring and diagnostics.

The new findings at OSU are a step towards that goal.

“This type of sensing would scale a monitor down to something about the size of a bandage that you could wear around with you,” said Patrick Chiang, an expert in wireless medical electronics and assistant professor in the OSU School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

“The sensor might provide and transmit data on some important things, like heart health, bone density, blood pressure or insulin status,” Chiang said. “Ideally, you could not only monitor health issues but also help prevent problems before they happen. Maybe detect arrhythmias, for instance, and anticipate heart attacks. And it needs to be non-invasive, cheap and able to provide huge amounts of data.”

Several startup companies such as Corventis and iRhythm have already entered the cardiac monitoring market.

According to the new analysis by OSU researchers, which was published in the EURASIP Journal on Wireless Communications and Networking, one of the key obstacles is the need to transmit large amounts of data while consuming very little energy.

They determined that a type of technology called “ultrawideband” might have that capability if the receiver getting the data were within a “line of sight,” and not interrupted by passing through a human body. But even non-line of sight transmission might be possible using ultrawideband if lower transmission rates were required, they found. Collaborating on the research was Huaping Liu, an associate professor in School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

“The challenges are quite complex, but the potential benefit is huge, and of increasing importance with an aging population,” Chiang said. “This is definitely possible. I could see some of the first systems being commercialized within five years.”

Japanese supercomputer is fastest in the world

The Fujitsu-built K Computer in Kobe, Japan is the fastest supercomputer in the world, according to the Top500 List of Supercomputers, to be announced today.The Fujitsu-built K Computer in Kobe, Japan, is the fastest supercomputer in the world, according to the Top500 List of Supercomputers, to be announced today.

(Credit: Fujitsu)


For the first time since 2004, a supercomputer built in Japan can claim to be the fastest on earth.

That’s according to the Top500 Supercomputing List, which is expected to be released today at the conference in Hamburg, Germany. The new leader, Japan’s K Computer, makes its home in Kobe’s RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science. K Computer sped to the front of the class by achieving more than 8 quadrillion calculations per second (petaflop/s), which pushed it ahead of last November’s winner, the Tianhe-1A at the National Supercomputing Center in Tianjin, China, which in the latest round achieved 2.6 petaflop/s.

K Computer was built by Fujitsu, and contains more than 80,000 CPUs with eight cores each. The last time Japan sat at the top of the supercomputing world was with NEC’s Earth Simulator, which was dethroned in November 2004, after two years as fastest supercomputer.

In the top five, following Tianhe-1A, in ranked order, is the Department of Energy’s Jaguar, housed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, with 1.75 petaflop/s; China’s Nebulae at the National Supercomputing Center in Shenzen, with 1.27 petaflop/s; and Tsubame 2.0 at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, with 1.19 petaflop/s.

The benchmark used to rank supercomputers is called the Linpack. It tests the performance of a system for solving a dense system of linear equations and is measured in calculations or floating point operations per second, hence flop/s. Not everyone in this field agrees it’s the best possible way to compare machines, but it is one way.

This is a list that reorders itself fairly quickly, evidenced by Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Roadrunner, the first system to break the petaflop barrier in June 2008, having fallen down to No. 10 on the list. The new Top500 list has 10 systems that have surpassed the petaflop barrier.

The most common application area of the 500 supercomputers on the list is research, with which 75, or 15 percent, of the systems are tasked. That’s followed by 36 of the systems working on finance, 33 on service, 23 on the World Wide Web, and 20 on defense.

IBM has the most systems on the list, with 42 percent of them, followed by Hewlett-Packard with 31 percent, and Cray with 6 percent. The U.S. leads as the country that’s home to the most supercomputers on the list with 256, China is next with 62, Germany has 30, the U.K. 27, Japan 26, and France 25.

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3D printing creating ‘a whole new world’

This is a custom product designed by Freedom of Creation, one of the world’s leaders in the 3D printed consumer products market.

(Credit: Daniel Terdiman/CNET)

AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands–Not long ago, I asked Scott Summit, a pioneer in using 3D printing in the design of custom prosthetics and an industrial design expert, who he would recommend I look into if I wanted to see the best in the world at using this young technology to make and sell consumer products. His answer, without hesitation? A small company run by Janne Kyttanen in the Dutch capital called Freedom of Creation.

In the late 1990s, Kyttanen had a vision. As a student in design school, he was turned off by traditional product manufacturing, storage, and distribution methods, and he thought there was a better way.

The vision was of a way to use a technology then barely known–3D printing, which was mainly being used to make medical and auto parts–and selling products that people could design themselves and sell them strictly over the Internet. Production would be fast, design would be key, and individual customization would be easy.

“The joke was, 10 years ago, we were 20 years too early,” Kyttanen tells me in his company’s conference room here. “I had trouble graduating because people didn’t believe” the vision.

But Kyttanen didn’t give up on what he saw as a new paradigm in product design, and because he had an older brother who worked in 3D animation, it was an easy transition for him to start thinking about products in terms of the 3D models that they would be made from. He started seeing everything as wireframes. And when “The Matrix” came out, complete with a 3D world filled with imagery like he’d been imagining, he thought, “Hey, I’m not by myself.”

Seven thousand dollars
When Kyttanen began thinking about designing and selling products using 3D printers, there was no possible way to build a business around the idea. The machines that were around in the late 1990s were so expensive that any product would have cost $7,000 just to make.

But the technology was clearly going somewhere, and he didn’t let go of the vision. He thought, if it was so easy for him to design 3D models, many other people could do the same, and the basis for an all-new industry was right there, staring him in the face.

At 5,000 euros a pop, there was no business, but he managed to get sponsorship from a Belgian company called Materialise, and started a department there called .MGX. Materialise wanted him to focus on a brand of lamps, something that didn’t quite fulfill his vision. After a couple of years, they parted ways. He gathered what money he had and started Freedom of Creation, sometimes called FOC.

For 11 years, he and a small team have been building the company, slowly expanding a catalog of high-concept designs that are all 3D printed, all customizable, and many of which are strikingly beautiful. In May, Kyttanen sold FOC to 3D Systems, the company that started the entire industry in the late 1980s and a leader in laser-sintering, a process that uses a high-temperature laser to fuse together materials (see video below). The idea behind the sale, he explained, was that by marrying the design side with the production and materials side, and cutting out the middlemen–the products are made on 3D Systems printers using the parent company’s materials–it creates the only way to make a business profitable like the one he had long envisioned and, he said, makes it possible to do production on a global scale.

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