U.K. Conservative Slams Violent Games & other Influences in Wake of Youth Slaying

August 25, 2007 -
In the wake of the brutal ride-by slaying of an 11-year-old Liverpool boy on Wednesday, the leader of Great Britain's Conservative Party has attacked a number of cultural influences - including video games. As reported by the Times, David Cameron said:
What has become of our society when we have this spate of children killing children?”

It means understanding and acting on that age-old maxim that it takes a village to raise a child. It means retailers stopping the sale of alcohol to young teenagers. It means music companies, media companies, games manufacturers, not just thinking, ‘What is my social responsibility as a company in terms of the projects I support and the charities I back, good and important as they are’, but asking, ‘What is the effect of the music I produce, the games I market and the programmes I broadcast?’

Coincidentally, fellow Conservative Jeremy Hunt was interviewed recently by MCV regarding the British game industry. Among his comments:
The UK video games industry is obviously a vitally important part of our economy. The Government needs to do all it can to support the video games sector and allow it to flourish.

I would, however, place equal weight on the cultural influence that games can have. As children and young people make up a significant proportion of video game users it is important for the industry to act in a responsible and sensitive way.

Issues involving content have largely focused on the negative aspects associated with games. The arguments around Resistance: Fall of Man and Manchester Cathedral being the most recent example. The industry needs to accept it has a duty to act responsibly when it comes to appropriate content and politicians and the media needs to realise that the industry can have a positive impact on young people’s lives...

I believe that it is time for the games industry to act in a responsible and sensitive way and play their part in the prevention of unsuitable material falling into the hands of children. It is essential that manufacturers take seriously the messages sent out by violent and increasingly life-like video games and I believe that most currently do so.

Comments

Well at least he didn't single games out.

Seriously how come every time some nutsu kills someone how is it automatically the media's fault? What about 50 years ago when there werent video games? Who was there to blame back then?

I don't really have a huge problem with him saying this although I can imagine there will be some out there that think that it's the end of the world and the politicians are trying to ruin videogames again or something. Cameron makes a few interesting points and also a few concessions. He says that he respects the cultural impact that games can have, almost like he respects them as an art form.

He's not blaming the media. He's saying 'there there is a lot of blame to go around here.' Hell, he even says that the politicians are at fault here too.

Also, GP, it wasn't really a 'Slam'. The headline is rather sensational!

well, at least games were at the bottom of the list.......

Before Jack Thompson and others go bezerk, most of the famous serial killers like Dahmer, Gacy, and so many others did those murders before very violent video games even existed.

@Jack Thompson
At least before you blow your stack answer to why all of these things happened even before very violent video games.

Those people acted because of the way people in America started changing. Today people in America are getting ruder and ruder to innocent people for instance. That is the reason why all of the school shootings so on and so forth are happening.

And as for the situation of some of the shooter playing video games, most kids these days play video games.

He repeated himself a few too many times, but I get his point. Basically, he does acknowledge that games are art and are a big part of our economy, but like the movie industry had to oh so long ago, they need to tread lightly until most of this haze clears.

FUCK THIS IS JUST SHIT THIS IS WHATS GOIN TO STOP MANHUNT 2 EVER COMMING OUT IN THE UK

By the way, this guy did not even give out the age of the shooter. It sounds like the shooter could have been the age to play M rated games because usually most ride by shootings happen from adult aged people.

GP: My bad for omitting the info on the shooters. I've added a link to the story. All arrested were teens.

FUCK THIS IS JUST SHIT THIS IS WHATS GOIN TO STOP MANHUNT 2 EVER COMMING OUT IN THE UK




What a calm and measured response that aids in proving that gamers are not socially mal-adjusted lunatics.

Michael,

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/crime/article2327074.ece

Whoever's responsible for Jones's death, police are definitely looking at teenagers. Arrested so far are four boys (15, 15, 16, and 19) and two girls (15 and 18).

So, some who meet the recommended age for M-rated games and some who don't. Of course, they use a different ratings system in the UK but the point still stands.


Andrew Eisen

> "What has become of our society when we have this spate of children killing children?”

Oh for crying out loud. Our society hasn't *become* that way! It's *always been* that way!

...so it was a drive-by. I'd like to call BS. I live in Michigan, and if you ever go to a place like downtown Saginaw, there's drive-by's all the time, and a lot of it is gang-related, not because some guys played a FPS.

I mean, does he even know the daily lives of those arrested? Their interests, what they do in their spare time, etc. They may not be gamers, or care for TV, or whatever. Then what, hm?

Yeah, I don't know, but isn't Britain the worst Western country to grow up in ?
Let me see: Ah yes: http://society.guardian.co.uk/children/story/0,,2012512,00.html

And surprise, surprise, which country is second to last ? Good ol' USA. Seems there are more problems then the media in the UK.

(And I'm proud that MY country is the BEST to grow up in.)

"It means retailers stopping the sale of alcohol to young teenagers. It means music companies, media companies, games manufacturers"

It means parents being involved in their children's lives to the extent where they just might noticed if they're involved in I don't know... possessing a fire arm in a country where it's illegal in any and all forms.

I love how this dipstick just bypasses any responsibility by the shooter or the parents and goes right to cultural influences.

I'm sick of listening to this crap, I'm so past done. You don't get popular with parents by telling them it's their fault their kids are dying, so you blame whatever is the most convenient.

A viciously religious and devious lawyer, a quack psychiatrist who claims to solve years of emotional problems in a 10 minute segment, an elitist ex junkie MP... why is it these idiots make headlines constantly and specialists , who actually do research, are left twisting in the wind while these whores fight for the spotlight.

Wolf,

Well, to be fair, Cameron is blaming society as a whole for perpetuating a culture where bad things like this can happen. Video games are a part of that culture but as Cameron points out, so are other forms of media, guns, drugs, alcohol, and crap parenting.


Andrew Eisen

@Andrew Eisen

Yeah, that's true. But what gets me is you can't simply say it's all cultural influences. Education and finances also play a role as well, and probably other things as well; while culture does play its role, you have to look at everything in the whole, not just cut a piece out and blame that particular section.

If you want to fix something, you find out everything that's wrong with it, not say "Oh, that needs fixing!" and then leave the rest unattended. You don't call a house finished when it's still missing the roof and a wall :P

Wolf.

Education and the financial background you come from effect the culture that you are exposed to. Richer more well educated folks will like more well read subjects and more intelligent programs. That's why you never hear someone say 'I've saved up my unemployment benefit so I can go and see the Vivaldi concert tonight' or why you never hear upper class people say 'Oh, turn off the blood Bronofski and put on Pop Idol would you?"

Culture, Education and Finance are utterly inseperable.

This killing happened at a place i used to go to when i was a kid, its a damm shame. People are looking for a motive but i dont think they will find one as kids in that area somtimes atack each other for no reason. Hell one time when i was a kid i got punched in the face by some older lad riding by on a bike for no reason at all.

Kids in this country have no fear of the law because there are no cosequences to their actions. They can destroy, steal and murder and not have to face up to the penalties for doing so.

Before we start to complain about what kind of image the media is putting into kids heads we should be concerned about what kind of example the law is setting for them. The law is far too leniant on young offenders.

The problem here in the UK is that the parents of problem kids give up and allow their kids free reign. The best part is that the government agency who are meant to step in and help the families regain control of their kids are too busy removing children from families for no reason other than to meet adoption quotas put in place by the government.
I've been in stores and seen 14yr olds trying to buy a game rated 18. In one instance the store refused so the kid got his Dad who went ballistic at the fact they had denied sale to his kid and then purchased the game and gave it straight to his son. Rather than blaming the industries they should blame the parents.

It's people like this that make me wonder...

Was everyone immortal until Pong first hit bars across the world? Was when Ralph Baer invented the most primitive version of TV table tennis the same time people started dying?

Damn conservatists! Really there is more to the murder, so he should actually wait for the police to capture the killer then he can blame media. GOD!!

The main problem I had with that speech is it is overtly utopian. In the part about the availbilty of gangs and guns, he is clearly hinting at reforms in cities. In Britain, that can mean vastly expanded government programs. Problem is, many cities already have these programs and crime rates are still fairly persistant. These cities pass all sorts of gun-control legislation, but the long-term impact on gang-violence is insignificant. Heck, gangs still get firearms in a country where they are outright illegal, what does that tell you? These cities also spend millions to renovate their slums, but those efforts are largely futile. Even if you took the worst neighborhoods, bulldozed the buildings, and erected the most beautiful skyscrapers in their place, within a few years those buildings will be slums again and will be havens for gangs again. The problem isn't with just parents of the community, it's the design of cities that perpetuates these problems. The only way to even lessen the pain of urban living is to not overcrowd cities. Don't build too many suburbs around these urban centers so they can expand with their population. Of course, it's far too late for most cities. We can only hope that newer ones follow that basic plan.

Now, to be fair, he also talks about parents a great deal. In his "social covenant" theory, he seems to hint that the community should be doing more to discourage bad parenting. This might work at first, and lots of people will probably get involved with Rhys fresh on their minds. However, as with cities, there is only so much they can do. Problem is, most of parental abuse and neglect occurs behind closed doors, where even neighbors can't do very much. Also, as a comment on the Times article indicated, there are many different kinds of abuse and neglect, not all are obvious. There are parents who spoil their kids, there are parents who put one of their kids above his/her siblings. The community can't reliably track down and stop these parents. The only certain way to lessen their impact on society is to nudge them out of the laziness which is so common in bad parents. Namely, put an end to excessive and unecessary state benefits to encourage these parents to find work. Though this won't deal with all bad parents, a hard-working parent is a much better role-model than one who depends on welfare.

About his comments on media, he brings up an interesting point, but one that should be taken with two jumbo grains of salt. One must be careful about blaming media, even in small part, for social ills. For example, in the 60s, many parents thought The Beatles were a bad influence on kids. But today, if I said they were even a minor factor in the rise of crime rates during that decade, I'd be laughed down the block. That's the problem with 'passing the buck' to media, often our fears of it stem from the beliefs we pick up from the last generation. However, those beliefs change and become more flexible over time, and often we as a society are better off for it. Also, the issue of addressing the media becomes dicey in itself, because we are an imperfect society that searches for scapegoats there. Though Cameron's remarks may not have been a condemnation of rap music of video games, they will certainly seem that way to Keith Vaz. Finally, the problem with tackling media in the name of social reform is itself flawed, as we do not yet know how the media contributes the social problems or if it contirbutes at all. We don't even know if Rhys' murderer was a fan of video games or rap. What we do know is that millions of people play violent video games and listen to swear-laden music and yet grow up to be normal, upstanding citizens. For the children who might be influenced in a negative way by these, I would refer back to my previous paragraph about the parents, because they have likely already failed the child by not teaching them good values to stand on, if the child must get them from the media. Besides which, it is also the parents who get these things for their kids in the first place. At worst, media likely plays a tiny role in some children going out and commiting crimes. Thus, our energies would be better spent on other issues, like addressing the deeper social problems. This is not carte blanche to stifle free expression in the name of "social responsibilty." In too many societies this amounts to censorship based on arbitary views which STILL doesn't address youth violence.

In conclusion, this speech does SOUND good. You could make a catchy slogan out of it, and progressives will swarm on it like flies on honey. Taken as a whole, however, these ideas aren't attainable. Throughout history, many attempts have been made to create a society like the one Cameron describes. To date, none have succeded on a national level.

"I believe that it is time for the games industry to act in a responsible and sensitive way and play their part in the prevention of unsuitable material falling into the hands of children. It is essential that manufacturers take seriously the messages sent out by violent and increasingly life-like video games and I believe that most currently do so."

They do. It's called the ratings board:

ET, E, E 10+, T, M, A/O

Industry job done.

How about we all cut the bullshit and stop trying to have the government make laws for things the parents should be doing their-damn-selves?

@ Papa.

ESRB doesn't rate games in the UK ;)

This is true but we have the BBFC . Ratings still apply and the great thing about using the BBFC is that thry have been rating movies for years so there can;t be any excuse for not understanding the ratings.

Actually i was kind of curious about that, do the ratings the BBFC use correspond to games AND movies? and if so isn't that really ass backwards when they ban a game and not a movie?

The BBFC use the same set of ratings for movies as they do games yes. Its not really ass backwards as movies have been banned in the past too, they aren't ganging up on the games. Most banned movies do see release down the line though as attitudes towards violence settle and new extremes are reached, i would imagine games would enjoy the same treatment as I've found the BBFC to be pretty fair in their affairs.

The BBFC is an independant review panel who charge for each submission they rate. If you are refused a rating you have to pay to have it re-evaluated.

I was thinking after i put up my previous comment. Now that there are both a British and European ratings on game boxes. mabye it wouldnt be a waste of time for an awareness campaign for the european ratings system (although its a fairly standard set of ratings)

It isn't the game industry's responsibility to make sure all games are apropriate for 8-year-olds....It's a collaboration of the industry, retailers, and the BBFC/ESRB and parents. But mostly the latter 3

No government has been able to prove that video games have caused any violent crimes. So how does he get off pointing the finger in this particular incident itself? No, first try to prove a link exists before you go linking individual cases. People fucking died and you are wasting your time mentioning video games, truly pathetic.

@Erik

hes not making the link, hes asking the question if theres a link. Sure its political rhetoric for the same thing, but at least its not some JT alarmist crap;

games = T3H MURDER!


it opens the debate for a rational defence by the games industry rather than trying to ostracise them.

Yes, but bringing it up in individual cases, in which it may have NO bearing is asinine.

They're still complaining about Manchester Cathedral being in Resistance? If they had chosen to do the same thing in the Vatican, I would have been honored that my religion was considered so important that people would fight to clear aliens out of St. Peter's.

Well its still not the only thing cited, he basically questioned all the major cultural influences asking whether they are contributing to violence.

all he is doing is doing the vague politician schtick untill the investigation is ongoing. or at least I hope he is.

@papamidnight
Don't even mention ET it almost killed videogames!!!!

I juststarted to like the guy due to reading this site yesterday and now he's blowen it.

I continue to be surprised that in discussions like these people go from: it's not the games! to it's the parents! Sure, parents play a big role, one that I, as a parent, take very seriously. But lets not forget that those teens spend the majority of their time in schools. As a society, we decide that schools are important enough that parents should give up part of their responsibility and hand it over to the schools. However, schools are not the safe place they should be. With bullying by both teachers and students, and parents standing almost powerless against that, I do not understand why we never hear anything about the responsibility of the schools in these situations.
(Disclaimer: I am not in the US or UK, but from what I read, schools do not differ that much and bullying is an issue everywhere).

Well, now, here we come to another fan of the nanny state, albeit this response is somewhat more coherent than many have been up to this point. However, this constant string of crap from people who look upon freedom and intelligence with disdain irritates me to no end, so I am going to craft my anger into a response that I hope makes some sense to those critics who might read it. Puritanical thinkers might want to skip this entry.

How the fuck have we come into this century when we keep celebrating democracy like it's the greatest thing apart from oxygen and water, and yet, we still LONG and DEMAND for a motherfucking, all-encroaching government. I'll admit this, Cameron doesn't single games out, however, he just advocates what can only be described as a Lenin-like naivety, believing that everybody will band together and work for the good of society. STOP DAYDREAMING AND GROW THE FUCK UP. They already invented that: They called it Communism, and it crashed and burned. This kind of optimistic bullshit:

"To me this is what social responsibility is all about. Not just sitting back and saying that the Government must act, but all of us saying, ‘This is my country, my society, my responsibility, and I must play my part."

Will never fly because, let's face it, that kind of work ethic, determination, and loyalty exists in relatively few of us.

"What has become of our society when we have this spate of children killing children?”

Yeah, society has JUST become like this, ignore the fact that people have been killing other people for as long as there have been other people that just fucking piss them off. Ignore the fact that kids have been killing kids forever. Ignore the fact that gangs have formed, and that kids have joined them, for goddamn ever. NO. Society has JUST transformed into that godless age when children kill children. Goddamn man, try to think back to when YOU were a kid. Didn't that one guy just piss you off so much that you dreamed of getting even? Now imagine that your parents pretty much ignore the fact that you exist, or worse, they beat your ass like there's no tomorrow because they're too much of pussies to go talk back to their boss. Add on the fact that the other kids don't like you because you look weird, or talk weird, or maybe you're just a dumb fucking piece of shit. Layer on that all-so-human desire to fit in, and to top it off, throw on that cocktail of hormones they call puberty. Yeah, it must be fucking SOCIETY that causes you to go out and join a gang or blast that jock asshole who's been beating your ass everyday in school.

On to the nanny state. Old fucking concept, get a goddamn new one. I'm not that familiar with the gun laws in the United Kingdom, but from what I have gathered, it is pretty damn hard to get a gun legally, and then you have to jump through hoops to show them that you're storing it well (or you have to keep it at the local hunting club). Either way, it is supposed to be damn hard to get a gun and even harder to get something like a handgun which has been permanently banned if I'm not mistaken. So how the FUCK is it society's fault when one little bastard gets a weapon and rides around on a bike, blasting other little kids? Answer this: Near the top of the responses, DoggySpew posted an article listing the best places to live. Topping the chart was the Netherlands, a hotbed of liberality with liberal outlooks on practically everything from drugs (I believe you are allowed to purchase small, recreational amounts of marijuana from the local cafe) to prostitution (it's legal). In fact, unless I'm mistaken, the number of violent deaths (that's including other forms of killing such as knives and drowning) is remarkably LOW compared to the UK and the US.

http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_mur-crime-murders

How is this possible? Could it be that, when the government isn't stamping their boots into your face and telling you what to do, people actually have to be RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS?! OH MY FUCKING GOD. It's like a motherfucking bolt of inspiration, glowing warmly on the faces of the ignorant and naive. Bottom line, government CAN'T tell people how to live every aspect of their lives; government exists as a general guideline and boundary to prevent extreme cases.

Parents who did not know where their children were and what they were up to at night should not only be helped to do their job properly, they should be shamed into it, [Cameron] said.

Well holy fuck, if the bastard doesn't contradict himself. Is anyone dumb enough to think that, if the parents are too lazy to fucking keep track of where their children are on their own, government regulation will make them care any more? The cold truth is that this world, while it does have a large number of people who are level-headed, rational, and generally decent, is largely populated with bastards. Bastard-coated bastards with bastard filling. Especially with the explosion of life-lengthening medicines and liberal free-speech policies. You see, in the old days, these bastards would have simply died off because they needed SOME people to like them and help them out. But nowadays, these sons-of-bitches can live completely separate from society, ordering their food online, and doling out criticism while experiencing nothing firsthand that would soil their plastic bubble. Even worse, is when these fuckers find each other and procreate for some reason. Then, they raise a herd of little fuckers and beat them when "the world just ain't fair, never mind that I didn't pay attention in school or job training..." Then they get mad when their little fuckers go out smoking and boozing and generally fucking around. That is when we get goddamn complaints about the government not doing shit to control the population of deviant motherfuckers.

IT IS THE PARENT'S FUCKING JOB TO CONTROL THEIR OWN KIDS.

End of that discussion. And when that kid goes out and blows some other guy's head off, that is THAT KID'S fault. Oh yes, you see, no matter how fucking retarded you are, if you go out and kill someone, that is a CONSCIOUS choice. At that point, all blame goes to THE KILLER. Nobody else but THE KILLER. I am so fucking tired of all the goddamn bullshit "Society made me do it" fuck that people try to pull nowadays. Oh no, it was a video game's fault that I went and gunned down that elementary school. Oh no, it was the Matrix's fault that I pushed that guy out of the window to see if he could fly. Oh no, I read a bad BOOK, and it made me want to CUT A MOTHERFUCKER INTO TEN PIECES. Spare me your scapegoating shit. I am NOT deceived by your ridiculous crap, it was YOUR FAULT. ONLY YOUR FAULT.

Oh yes, and at Dennis, It wasn't Cameron who said the second part:

The UK video games industry is obviously a vitally important part of our economy. The Government needs to do all it can to support the video games sector and allow it to flourish.

I would, however, place equal weight on the cultural influence that games can have. As children and young people make up a significant proportion of video game users it is important for the industry to act in a responsible and sensitive way.

Issues involving content have largely focused on the negative aspects associated with games. The arguments around Resistance: Fall of Man and Manchester Cathedral being the most recent example. The industry needs to accept it has a duty to act responsibly when it comes to appropriate content and politicians and the media needs to realise that the industry can have a positive impact on young people’s lives…

I believe that it is time for the games industry to act in a responsible and sensitive way and play their part in the prevention of unsuitable material falling into the hands of children. It is essential that manufacturers take seriously the messages sent out by violent and increasingly life-like video games and I believe that most currently do so.

It was some guy named Jeremy Hunt.

*End Angry Tirade*

PS:

The interview you posted yesterday was also the same interview of Jeremy Hunt, not David Cameron.

In a country where gun ownership is pretty much outlawed [with the exception of farms etc] A teenage kid allegedly shoots and murders a random child. Of course its the films/TV/video games that are to blame. Honestly.

Cameron is a good speaker, but he's also famous as an opportunist, he is good at spotting 'hot button' issues and riding them.

All he needs to do now is learn when to tell the difference between Sensationalistic and Important. As much as I hate Maggie Thatcher, at least the 70/80's generation of politicians seemed to figure out that the best way to deal with a trend was simply to ignore it for a few years until it died out.

@Ben Yaka

Oh don't worry, this is how political opposition works over here. As long as they're not in power the whole of society is doomed.

I wonder if they realize that kids these days, at least last I checked, aren't any more violent than they were in the fifties?

People have always been douche-bags to one another. We just sensationalize it more now (and I wish we didn't - farking media). Guy needs to get a grip!

Cameron understands what teen gamers do not: That adults are in charge of this world and should be. Further, everyone on this planet who has power has a responsibility to exercise it for the common good. Heck, even Spiderman gets that.

Thank God for MP Cameron, as adult leaders on both sides of the pond are understanding that pop culture is by and large raw sewage in which teens are drowning.

Once you kids grow up, you'll understand. Until then, pay attention. You'll learn something. Remember, I was once as ignorant as you. I grew up.

Jack Thompson

PS: Hooah!

Like I was saying:

Luscan Says:

August 25th, 2007 at 9:39 am
FUCK THIS IS JUST SHIT THIS IS WHATS GOIN TO STOP MANHUNT 2 EVER COMMING OUT IN THE UK

What a calm and measured response that aids in proving that gamers are not socially mal-adjusted lunatics.

I would also like to add that only the 18-year old should have been playing games with any real level of violence in them, the 14 year old wouldn't even be able to buy a 15 Certificate game legally. So, if these boys were all playing violent games or watching violent movies, some of them were doing so illegally.

I dunno Jack, I've seen plenty of irresponsible adult leaders in my own time, let alone delving into history. Sometimes leadership ability isn't related to one's age.

Without getting into a religious debate, more people have been killed in the name of God than in the name of GTA.

'What a calm and measured response that aids in proving that gamers are not socially mal-adjusted lunatics.'

Oh shut up and grow up Jack, you're no better than the guy who types in capitals, as your own comment proves.

Meh, and he copied them from someone else.....

Actually, I'd like to delve more into what I said about religion causing more deaths than video games.

It goes on everywhere. People killing infidels so they can go to heaven. Madmen interpreting the bible to justify horrific actions.

Do I pigeon-hole all religious people as violent psychopaths with no regard for human life?

No, because it's a big tent and I know better than to compare Ned Flanders to Islamic Fascist #435429.

Get where this is going?

HINT: It has to do with video games.

It just annoys me that people can spend their entire career attempting to paint their own stereotyped image of gamers purely to suit their own cause. Gamers are everything from Teachers to Astronauts, and yet the moment a political agenda appears on the Horizon this image is painted by the likes of the Anti-Gaming crowd.

That's why I get annoyed at Jacks' comments (assuming that's Jack) because I spent several years on here being insulted, belittled and called every name under the sun, along with the rest of GP, and yet Jack 'conveniently' forgets those occasions when he wants to climb onto his own persecution high-horse.

It's the selective amnesia that annoys me the most.
 
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SleakerMinecraft community exploded again today. Apparently Mojang owns all of Bukkit, and never put out a statement saying as such 2 years ago when they acquired them. I have to say, their transition from indie has been rough.08/21/2014 - 8:52am
james_fudgeThere aren't many left in America08/21/2014 - 1:50am
MechaTama31I sure have. Dorky's barcade in Tacoma, WA.08/20/2014 - 5:56pm
Matthew WilsonI have not been to a arcade in years. I know arcades are still big in japan.08/20/2014 - 5:38pm
Sleaker@AE - Ah no it's called GroundKontrol - I was just referring to it as a Bar-Arcade.08/20/2014 - 4:39pm
 

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