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FinancesOnline PageFreezer Review

PageFreezer has been reviewed by another service. A big thanks to FinancesOnline, for their review!

PageFeezer has been reviewed

Here is the overview:

PageFreezer provides website and social media archiving solutions to companies in a range of industries including retail, telecom, legal, finance, government, utilities, and post-secondary education. PageFreezer is a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) app that helps companies of all sizes to permanently preserve their social media and website content in evidentiary quality, and then easily access those archives and replay them as if they were still live.

Archived data has many uses ranging from compliance with regulators such as the FDA, FINRA, and SEC, to litigation preparedness, competitive intelligence, call center support, and evidence capture.

About FinancesOnline
FinancesOnline is the fastest growing independent software review platform. Our mission is to help business owners find the best software to fit their needs and to provide vendors with an effective way to find potential clients.

Using Social Media for Regulation FD Compliance

Full disclosure. You’ve probably heard that many times as a way to show that the speaker has a vested interest in what they are saying. When it comes to public companies, full disclosure is not a whim, but rather a fundamental requirement. It helps keep the modern stock markets fair (along with other regulations).

SEC-2000

Regulation FD (Reg FD), passed in 2000, is an SEC reporting requirement that mandates that all publicly traded companies must disclose material information to all investors at the same time. The regulation was a response to the rapid expansion of online trading and the power of the open internet. On the online trading side, millions of users now had the ability to execute trades with a click of a button. On the communication side, there was a new ability to disseminate information. The internet created a need for more open disclosure and the ability to deliver it.

Previously, company information such as financial results and material changes was distributed to analysts via conference calls. Access to this information was restricted, and it created an environment where large players (who employed the analysts) had access to market-changing information before the public.

Now, under Reg FD, reporting companies need to deliver the information to all the public at the same time. Traditionally, press releases serve this function. But press releases can be slow to produce, cumbersome to manage and costly (especially to the ~ 14,000 small issuers that trade on the OTC). Every time an issuer needs to report information, they’d have to write, edit, approve and release news. And, press releases for financial disclosure are not cheap.

Old School Disclosure – Press Releases

Consider, one well-known press-release service charges $750 for one release. Each company needs to do at least three quarterly’s (10-Q) and one annual (10-K). Also, throughout the year any company worth their salt will be doing deals, adding resources, or whatever they can do to improve their business. If these are significant enough, these must also be reported.

As of April 2, 2013,  the SEC made a clarification that companies can now use social media to comply with Reg FD! This is a determination that social media is now widespread enough that is provides

“another method or combination of methods that is reasonably designed to effect broad, non-exclusionary distribution of the information to the public.”

For public companies, this is a game changer on how they comply with Reg FD. They don’t have to spend hours upon hours drafting a press release and spending thousands upon thousands for straightforward compliance. They can now use their social media accounts to quickly and cost-effectively distribute their material information in a fair and SEC sanctioned manner.

In October 2015, Goldman Sachs’ took the initiative and started using their website and Twitter to distribute official documents. While now, this might be an exception, it is inevitable that this method of distribution will become the standard. The savings in time, complexity and cost are too powerful to ignore and the internet will take over another industry.

Of course, there are specific rules and guidelines to follow. A company can’t just post a Tweet and think that’s it. Here are best practices to follow:

Twitter
There are many social media channels out there. However, some obscure network with limited following can’t be considered broad, non-exclusionary distribution. Facebook has an algorithm that determines what shows up on a feed; not all posts will appear. Thus, the most appropriate social media network for Reg FD compliance is Twitter.

Proper Notification
Announce before any disclosure what channel you will be using. Put it on your website, your filings, your press releases, anywhere and everywhere you can so your investors and regulators know exactly where to watch. Be consistent, timely and regular on your Tweets so that it becomes the go-to source for such information.

Trusted Source
Who is creating the Tweet? Are they the party responsible for such disclosures? You want to ensure that the Tweet is accurate, from the proper channel and that it is authentic. Effective security and collaboration processes are vital.

Other SEC Regulations
Reg FD is, of course, only one of many SEC requirements. Posting on Twitter does not negate any of those. Consider forward-looking statements and the inclusion of meaningful risk factors. Are there other Tweets that might get entangled with the Reg FD Tweets? While Twitter might make the disclosure creation easier, it’s still a legal record and your legal team should sign off.

Archiving
As with all sensitive business communications, a proper record is imperative. You don’t want to rely on Twitter in the case of an audit. They have no duty to save your Tweets. Don’t rely on techniques that can’t be verified or are susceptible to alteration. You need a provable, accurate record of EXACTLY what you disclosed and when.

SEC regulatory notices concerning web and social media sites explicitly state that firms must retain records of all business-related electronic communications to remain compliant. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in hefty fines, bad publicity, and ultimately loss of business. It’s critical your company implements a robust records retention policy for your websites and social media pages. You must preserve your online presence in a way that’s regulation-compliant, user-friendly, and, above all, affordable.

social-media

That’s where PageFreezer steps in. PageFreezer is a web and social media archiving service that is archiving over 600 public companies, financial firms, government agencies and other major organizations. We know exactly what regulators are looking for regarding accurate record keeping and ensure your archives are secure, authentic and easy to produce in case of an audit.

With a proven, trusted archiving system in place you’ll never be caught flat-footed, scrambling to deliver accurate records. You don’t want to spend hours and hours trying to produce records, or worse, sanctioned by the SEC.

PageFreezer offers an enterprise-class SaaS solution, built to support even the most sophisticated websites, blogs, and many social media networks. All accessible on one platform. With PageFreezer, you get complete archives of ALL your web content — without a lot of hassle.

Archiving Your Online Records for The Federal Rules of Evidence 901

He said she said. It’s a classic comment about communications, two different versions of the truth. We know people distort, misspeak, forget and outright lie. When it comes to legal evidence, all those factors come into play. How can a legal system function with all that going on?

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Luckily, regarding online evidence, there is the Federal Rules of Evidence 901. FRE 901 is the evidentiary principle that something is what they say it is. He said (or she said) is not enough; it needs to be PROVEN. As, the rule is relatively short, here is the whole rule:

Rule 901. Authenticating or Identifying Evidence

(a) In General. To satisfy the requirement of authenticating or identifying an item of evidence, the proponent must produce evidence sufficient to support a finding that the item is what the proponent claims it is
(b) Examples. The following are examples only — not a complete list — of evidence that satisfies the requirement:

(1) Testimony of a Witness with Knowledge. Testimony that an item is what it is claimed to be.
(2) Nonexpert Opinion About Handwriting. A nonexpert’s opinion that handwriting is genuine, based on a familiarity with it that was not acquired for the current litigation.
(3) Comparison by an Expert Witness or the Trier of Fact. A comparison with an authenticated specimen by an expert witness or the trier of fact.
(4) Distinctive Characteristics and the Like. The appearance, contents, substance, internal patterns, or other distinctive characteristics of the item, taken together with all the circumstances.
(5) Opinion About a Voice. An opinion identifying a person’s voice — whether heard firsthand or through mechanical or electronic transmission or recording — based on hearing the voice at any time under circumstances that connect it with the alleged speaker.
(6) Evidence About a Telephone Conversation. For a telephone conversation, evidence that a call was made to the number assigned at the time to:

(A) a particular person, if circumstances, including self-identification, show that the person answering was the one called; or

(B) a particular business, if the call was made to a business and the call related to business reasonably transacted over the telephone.

(7) Evidence About Public Records. Evidence that:

(A) a document was recorded or filed in a public office as authorized by law; or

(B) a purported public record or statement is from the office where items of this kind are kept.

(8) Evidence About Ancient Documents or Data Compilations. For a document or data compilation, evidence that it:

(A) is in a condition that creates no suspicion about its authenticity;

(B) was in a place where, if authentic, it would likely be; and

(C) is at least 20 years old when offered.

(9) Evidence About a Process or System. Evidence describing a process or system and showing that it produces an accurate result.(10) Methods Provided by a Statute or Rule. Any method of authentication or identification allowed by a federal statute or a rule prescribed by the Supreme Court.

Unfortunately, there’s no specific mention of online evidence such website or social media content. However, there are cases that offer precedent. One of the first:

Lorraine v Markel American Insurance Company (2007)

In this case, the authenticity of emails were called into question during proceedings, and so the court took the opportunity to address the standard of authentication necessary when producing digital content or ESI as evidence. In this case, neither plaintiffs nor defendants authenticated the exhibits attached to their motions, rendering them useless as evidence, and this was the first reason for dismissing the motions.

A party seeking to introduce digital content as evidence must make a prima facie showing that the evidence is what it claims to be.

Though this case is from 2007, this 100-page opinion still stands as good law today for a number of reasons. Even at the time of hearing it was held that “counsel must be prepared to recognize and appropriately deal with the evidentiary issues associated with the admissibility of electronically generated and stored evidence,” as the manual preparation of evidence has been quickly replaced by electronically stored and created evidence.

Properly Scrutinize Electronic Evidence

Despite similarities with the methods of authentication of traditional evidence, federal courts have acknowledged a duty to properly scrutinize electronic evidence given the ease with which it can be edited, and that such evidence may require higher levels of examination than traditional forms of evidence.

The analysis of authentication of ESI is subject to existing rules of evidence (in the context of United States Federal Law), rather than limited to a new form of authentication for specific types of new evidence.

Justice Grimm stated though this standard of authentication, is “not a particularly high barrier to overcome,” the “failure to authenticate…. almost always is a self-inflicted injury which can be avoided by thoughtful advance preparation….”

The authentication standards of Rule 901 are designed to create a threshold standard to test the reliability of evidence (subject to review by cross-examination at a later stage if necessary). Determining what degree of the foundation is appropriate in any given case is in the judgment of the court. The required foundation will vary not only with the particular circumstances but also with the individual judge.

Of course, if you want to be sure your web and social media is correctly authenticated and up to the standards that courts demand, use PageFreezer to archive your online content. We provide 256-bit digital signature and timestamp on all archived content, so there is irrefutable evidence what was online, and when.

Check out our Website Archiving or Social Media Archiving pages for more details.

CMS Backup vs Archive

The first time I built a website it was hand-coded; editors didn’t exist yet. HTML editors made it easier, but it was all static content. Then, with database-driven websites, content could be created on the fly. But, you still needed a degree in computer science to get them working.

cms

The invention of content management systems (CMS) simplified the process. Now, even an average user can build an excellent website. Sure, if you want to customize the look or the code beyond what the theme or plugins allow, it can still get quite complicated. The CMS, though, has been the technology behind millions of modern websites.

CMS is NOT an Archive

But a CMS was never designed to be an archive system. Yes, they now have version control. And, some plugins allow you to backup your files and data. But that is NOT the same as a proper archive. An archive is a record, a verifiable authenticatable account of a particular time.

So, yes, you could look at your revision history, find that version that was online at that time, and republish is somewhere. For that matter, you could just take a screenshot, import it into Photoshop, and make the change you want.

However, the legal system doesn’t accept these “versions” as evidence, nor should they. What is published on a website, or social media account now has the same legal status as a paper record. Therefore, it needs to be protected the same way; in a manner that is unalterable, and trustable. That means adhering to the FRE (Federal Rule of Evidence) and the FRCP (Federal Rules of Civil Procedure).

In the digital world, that means timestamps and digital signatures. If you want your web and social media to be audit/litigation/request ready, you NEED timestamps and digital signatures. Does your CMS backup have this?

Well before becoming an issue of evidence, there are technical issues to consider. How easy would it be to find the data you need? How many hours of searching, trying to piece information together from multiple sources, would it take? And, would it be exactly like it was, with links, media and all other dynamic content the modern web has?

It’s not simply the web page that needs to be saved; all the associated data has to be saved and matched as well. Modern online content is dynamic and complex, often pulling data (such as Flash or AJAX content) from outside the CMS’s database. A web page reproduced through CMS revision history will not be admissible unless the reproduced page bears a digital timestamp and signature. Needless to say, this is not a viable option for companies interested in a strong records retention policy.

Web Archiving

Archiving is the solution to the problem of maintaining perfect historical web records. An enduring web archive is created by capturing a digital snapshot of the content, independent of specific databases or technologies. That means the website can always be viewed in its original form and deliver the same user experience, meeting regulation requirements for authentic copies.

PageFreezer is a leader in the web archiving industry; we’re archiving over 500 clients including major government agencies, large financial firms, Fortune 500 companies and many other organizations.

How to Archive Facebook Information for Compliance

For many people, the most accurate record of their lives is Facebook. Pictures of their kids, significant events in their lives, or simply how they are feeling. With over one billion users, that means Facebook is the de facto memory of our online lives.

That has considerable implications, especially as it being a record of activities that are questionable, offensive and even illegal. Beyond the personal sphere, Facebook Pages are considered business records. And Facebook Messages, if they are business communications, are also business records.

Thus, using Facebook (and other social media) requires the same obligations and retention policies as any other business record. You want to keep accurate records of who said what, when for litigation protection, compliance, and corporate memory needs.

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Relying on Facebook itself, is fraught with issues. They have no obligation to retain your content; FACEBOOK IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ACTIONS, CONTENT, INFORMATION, OR DATA OF THIRD PARTIES. And, once posted, you’ve lost control of “your” content as their terms of service provide such broad control to them, Facebook can do as they wish; “you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License)“.

While Facebook does allow you to download your information, there’s no guarantee of accuracy or authentication involved. This download won’t satisfy Federal Rules of Evidence (Rule 901) if you want the archive to have legal standing, or compliance rules for FINRA, SEC, Open Records Laws, etc.

Specifically, Facebook compliance refers to the rules and regulations governing financial firms and advisors in regards to social media. In the US, FINRA has created specific guidelines  (Regulatory Notice 10-06 and  Regulatory Notice 11-39) for social media. If any Facebook communication is a business communication, it IS a business record and needs to be archived for three years. While any particular post, depending on its content and intent, can be debated if it is a “business record”, you don’t want to have to scramble to prepare for an audit, or have an audit show missing records.

Anticipate audits and have proper social media policies and procedures in place BEFOREHAND. A simple, easy-to-follow social media policy should be in place, taught to all employees, and monitored on an ongoing basis. And, a proper archiving system that automatically handles the record-keeping aspect needs to be implemented as well.

For government agencies, Facebook archiving is necessary to comply with State Open Records Laws or FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests. In general, States already have laws that pertain to Facebook archiving. Some States already have laws specifically written about social media retention, but, if not, laws about Open Records apply. While the medium is new, the intent remains the same; the public has a right to know.

For other organizations, Facebook archiving is a smart risk mitigation strategy. More and more interactions with the public and with employees are happening on Facebook. HR might have to deal with situations of online harassment. Marketing might want to keep proper track of all their posts, in case someone tries to falsify claims. For public companies, investor relations should keep track of any news and announcements to demonstrate to the SEC what they have published.

Facebook archiving protects your organization. Ensure that your organization takes full advantage of the massive Facebook audience without additional risk and start archiving all your social media.

PageFreezer at the NAGW

PageFreezer is attending the NAGW Conference(National Association of Government Web Professionals) in Albuquerque, New Mexico from Sept 23-25, 2015. Here’s a picture of one of our Account Manager’s, Cameron Kooy, at the booth (just outside the Enchantment Room, if you’re there). Drop by and say hi to him and Bruce (Bruce Crain)!

NAGW

Overview of Sunshine Laws

Do you trust your government? The heart of democracy, “by the people, for the people”, requires that government be accountable to it citizens. And, if there is no trust there, how can democracy flourish?Trust, though, need not be blind faith. Policies, procedures and systems can help make government accountable. Open records laws often referred to as Sunshine Laws, are laws that promote transparency; requiring certain proceedings of government agencies to be open or available to the public.The term sunshine law can be traced back to Florida’s Government-in-the-Sunshine Law, which was enacted in 1967. While there were Public Records Laws before that, these Sunshine Laws expanded the scope of what is available to the public.The Public Records Laws covered documents; at first, written materials; but later, expanded to tapes, photographs, film, sound recordings and computer files. With the Sunshine Laws (Chapter 119 of the Florida Statutes), any record made or received by any public agency in the course of its official business are available for personal inspection by any person, (unless specifically exempted by Florida Legislature).

Florida Sunshine Laws

119.01 General state policy on public records.
(1) It is the policy of this state that all state, county, and municipal records are open for personal inspection and copying by any person. Providing access to public records is a duty of each agency.
(2)(a) Automation of public records must not erode the right of access to those records. As each agency increases its use of and dependence on electronic recordkeeping, each agency must provide reasonable public access to records electronically maintained and must ensure that exempt or confidential records are not disclosed except as otherwise permitted by law.
(b) When designing or acquiring an electronic recordkeeping system, an agency must consider whether such system is capable of providing data in some common format such as, but not limited to, the American Standard Code for Information Interchange.
(c) An agency may not enter into a contract for the creation or maintenance of a public records database if that contract impairs the ability of the public to inspect or copy the public records of the agency, including public records that are online or stored in an electronic recordkeeping system used by the agency.
(d) Subject to the restrictions of copyright and trade secret laws and public records exemptions, agency use of proprietary software must not diminish the right of the public to inspect and copy a public record.
(e) Providing access to public records by remote electronic means is an additional method of access that agencies should strive to provide to the extent feasible. If an agency provides access to public records by remote electronic means, such access should be provided in the most cost-effective and efficient manner available to the agency providing the information.
(f) Each agency that maintains a public record in an electronic recordkeeping system shall provide to any person, pursuant to this chapter, a copy of any public record in that system which is not exempted by law from public disclosure. An agency must provide a copy of the record in the medium requested if the agency maintains the record in that medium, and the agency may charge a fee in accordance with this chapter. For the purpose of satisfying a public records request, the fee to be charged by an agency if it elects to provide a copy of a public record in a medium not routinely used by the agency, or if it elects to compile information not routinely developed or maintained by the agency or that requires a substantial amount of manipulation or programming, must be in accordance with s. 119.07(4).
Since Florida has enacted their Sunshine Laws, many other jurisdictions have enacted similar laws. Many have even named their laws as Sunshine Laws. Here is a partial list:

Missouri Sunshine Law

Subject to Chapter 610, Missouri Attorney General notes that, “the Sunshine Law applies to all records, regardless of what form they are kept in, and to all meetings, regardless of the manner in which they are held.” Government records on a non-government owned server (i.e. social media site) are subject to a Sunshine request, and legal discovery.

Ohio Sunshine Laws

Ohio has notably pro-access freedom of information laws. In Ohio Ohio’s Public Records and Open Meetings Laws, collectively known as the “Sunshine Laws,” give Ohioans access to government meetings and records – collectively known as “public records”. Ohio Revised Code (O.R.C.) 149.011 applies to and defines Open Records.

Hawaii Sunshine Law

Hawaii Sunshine Law legislates the methods by which public meetings and associated records are monitored and conducted.

New Mexico Sunshine Laws

New Mexico Sunshine Laws and provisions of access to public records, website and social media records can be found within the Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA) and the Open Meetings Act (OMA).

North Dakota Sunshine Laws

North Dakota Open Records Statute (N.D.C.C. §44-04-18 et seq.) and North Dakota Open Meetings Statute N.D.C.C. §44-04-19 et seq. govern open records in the State of North Dakota. These Sunshine Laws provide that all government records and meetings must be open to the public (unless a specific statute requires or authorizes a meeting or record to be closed).

Louisiana Sunshine Law

The Louisiana Public Records Act (La.R.S. 44:1 et seq.) and Louisiana Open Meetings Law La.R.S. 42:4.1 et seq.also known as Louisiana’s Sunshine Law govern social media and Open Records in the state of Louisiana, providing access to records for the public.

Here is a list of all US State Open Records Laws

Open Records Laws by State

Click the map below to learn the details how Public Record Laws in your state.
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US Map

Archiving for FINRA Social Media Compliance

Financial firms are naturally cautious when it comes to new communication technology. After all, they understand that regardless of the medium the general rule applies; they are accountable for all business communications. Plus, each new communication channel comes with its specific compliance issues that need to be figured out BEFORE any actual use.wall-street2However, social media isn’t new anymore. FINRA has created specific guidelines all the way back in 2010 (Regulatory Notice 10-06) and in 2011 (Regulatory Notice 11-39). That means, with a proper social media policy in place, financial firms just need to follow the guidelines and can Tweet and Post just like everyone else.Of course, a bit of discretion is involved. While a certain post coming from an individual might seem innocuous, coming from an investment advisor, can mean an entirely different thing. “SELL when you can” coming from a buddy referring to football fantasy, would mean something quite different coming from a broker.A good social media policy can take care of a lot of this. Separation of accounts, specific guidelines to who can say what, and specific approvals for different accounts can help ensure what goes out is vetted properly.Controlling what goes out is only half the battle. The other significant aspect is keeping accurate records of all business communications; who said what, when.
1. Recordkeeping The obligations of a firm to keep records of communications made through social media depend on whether the content of the communication constitutes a business communication.Rule 17a-4(b) under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (SEA) requires broker-dealers to preserve certain records for a period of not less than three years, the first two in an easily accessible place.Among these records, pursuant to SEA Rule 17a-4(b)(4), are “[o]riginals of all communications received and copies of all communications sent (and any approvals thereof) by the member, broker or dealer (including inter-office memoranda and communications) relating to its business as such, including all communications which are subject to rules of a self-regulatory organization of which the member, broker or dealer is a member regarding communications with the public.”The SEC has stated that the content of an electronic communication determines whether it must be preserved.

How to record social media communications

Even for a technically sophisticated user, social media record keeping seems onerous. Sending out a Tweet is one thing, now you’re supposed to record it? For three years?This sounds like a job for Superman social media archiving. Social media archiving is a technology solution that automatically monitors specified social media feeds and archives all the activity associated with that feed. It also provides authentication, so that the record can be verified.PageFreezer Software has been providing this service since 2010 to hundreds of financial firms. We know the rules, inside and out, and have the technology and systems for easy, simple, affordable FINRA social media compliance. Using the same dashboard, you can also archive all your website and blog content.Visit our Financial Services Compliance page to learn more.

Archiving for FCA Social Media Compliance

In March 2015, the FCA (the UK Financial watchdog, The Financial Conduct Authority) issued compliance guidance for how financial firms can use social media:

FG15/4: Social media and customer communications: The FCA’s supervisory approach to financial promotions in social media

The_City_London2It’s twenty pages long so, as with any government financial document, chock full of specific details. Obviously, if you’re in the industry, you (or probably your compliance officer) should absorb it all. Today though, we’re just going to focus on the archiving part; the requirement to keep accurate records of who said what, when.

Section 1.25 cuts to the heart of the matter:
Firms should also keep adequate records of any significant communications. As well as helping to protect consumers, these records enable the firm to deal effectively with any subsequent claims or complaints. Firms should not rely on digital media channels to maintain records, as they will not have control over this: social media in particular may refresh content from time to time, with the consequent deletion of older material.
In other words, use an archiving service. While you might see that as a self-serving statement, it’s none the less true. Social media archiving services have the processes, technology and knowledge to ensure you have these records in place (without the need to develop everything in house).

Financial Communications – Promotional or non-promotional?

In general, when using social media financial firms will have two types of communication; promotional and non-promotional. As the non-promotional communications do not involve a financial aspect it’s a non-regulated activity and do not require archiving.

However, anything that even has a hint of financial promotion probably falls under the regulations and thus needs archiving. Anything that “includes an invitation or inducement to engage in financial activity” is considered promotional. Be careful, a few words can turn an otherwise non-regulated communication into something that now falls under compliance.

Personal, or in the course of business?

Another factor is ‘in the course of business’. Are you communicating as a person, with your personal views? Or, are you communicating for business? Ensure there’s clarity, so that no one can mistake one for the other.

Just because it’s a “new” medium doesn’t mean that the old rules don’t apply. All the previous rules for factors such as misleading statements, clarity, and fairness are still in place. You need to consider the medium and the intended audience; disclaimers, emphasis and balance all need to be taken into account.

The guidelines go through many examples, showing what is compliant and what is non-compliant. By understanding these examples, and having proper internal policies and procedures in place, UK financial firms don’t have to be afraid of social media. Just make sure everything (including proper social media archiving) is in place BEFORE you start Tweeting and Posting!

Start Archiving Automatically for Simple, Secure and Reliable FCA Financial Services Compliance

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