back to article Passport and ID card price hike laundered via private sector

Biometric enrollment fees for passports and ID cards will cost applicants £20-£40 on top of the basic price, estimates released by the Home Office revealed yesterday. In a prospectus soliciting private sector partners for enrollment, the Identity & Passport Service said that the total market for these services is worth "between …


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  1. Pete Silver badge

    shame they closed all the post offices

    Given the wishlist of attributes that they're asking for, post offices would've been ideal for the job. Except that at the rate they're being closed down there won't be many left by 2012.

  2. b

    Two words:

    Consumer boycott.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Forget this.

    Back to the Post Office!!

  4. Natalie Gritpants Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Only one kind of business will do this to its customers

    And that would be a bank.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Is this where the banks have to return the favour to the goverment's for the bail-out?

  6. Chris Thorpe

    Open & competitive

    I'm all for this, but I think it should work at the individual level. So, I'm throwing the issuing of my ID card open to competitive tender. Companies with the lowest cost will do well. Companies that offer to pay me will do even better. So if you'd like me to carry a large ID card on a stick, bearing your branding (eg 'This way to the golf sale'), queue up to bid now.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Banks

    Ah yes, banks.....

    ...because they are enjoying a HUGE level of trust at the moment, yes?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Natalie Gritpants

    Nah, the banks don't want biometric, it's well known to be far too unreliable and generally a nightmare. If they thought it was a reliable technology ATMs would have had fingerprint recognition rather than PIN as soon as it was feasable.

  9. druck Silver badge


    The only footfalls any store stupid enough to take this government's poison ID chalice, will hear will be the ones of No2ID protesters circling the shop with placards.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can see it now

    Tesco Value Biometric Collection.

  11. Rande Knight

    The AA or RAC

    NZ got it right when they rolled out PhotoID drivers licenses.

    One stop shop at the AA - turn up show your passport/other ID, they snap your pic, you sign on the touch sensitive screen and your new license turns up in the mail in a couple of days.

  12. Scott
    Thumb Down

    Funny handshakes

    I'm guessing theres only 2 ways this is going to work, either they put them in dentists so the pain doesn't seem that bad or some kind of secret incentive ie tax breaks, help with your monopoly (read Tescos) without the general public knowing (well until the memos found on a train).

    Just see it know old Wacky Jack going to Tescos and offering to turn a blind eye to there carbon footprint if they have these ID booths in store, tesco would probably offer you 100 points on your loyalty card as well.

  13. Brian


    At least we could be sure the biometrics are kosher...

  14. Ash

    "... securing applicants data appropriately."

    By posting it Royal Mail to Ireland, leaving it on the Tube, or walking around the train on your mobile phone with the documents left on the table for members of the public to photograph at their leisure?

    Kindly F.O.A.D.

  15. Mark

    "a competitive open market."

    How can it be a competitive market when you MUST buy?

    And if you're meant to operate at a profit (private companies do, you know), how can it be cheaper than in-house government workers doing it? The CEO of Accenture gets more than a high level Civil Servant, I'm sure...

  16. Dave
    Black Helicopters

    Every little Helps

    To completely ruin your business?

    Our Supermarket overlords won't touch this with a bargepole unless they have a very big incentive to overcome the lack of goodwill.

    People being herded there by the stasi (Sorry Jackkky Schmidts, helpful public servants who can be recognised by their brown shi(r)ts ) might do it!

  17. Steve

    @ druck

    "The only footfalls any store stupid enough to take this government's poison ID chalice, will hear will be the ones of No2ID protesters circling the shop with placards."

    Not strictly true - I have a set of fairly hefty boots that could see some use "re-calibrating" fingerprint readers.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    "goodwill generated by providing a valuable public service" - they really are away with the faeries aren't they?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    CCTV facial biometrics

    Back in 2005 when UK had the EU presidency, they pushed the idea of *Biometric* identity cards. EU has ID cards, but they're just ID cards, nothing else.

    All these ideas of central government databases full of every little details, your fingerprints, pictures etc. all accessible at the touch of a button to every little government nazi... that all comes from the UK. They were supposed to implement an ID card as part of the freedom of movement within the EU, however they turned it from a simple id card into a biometric integrated electronic surveillance system instead.

    Next step for someone like Jacqui is to plug the CCTV cameras into the database and track people by matching their face image to the CCTV image. Because her judgement is not sound, she makes bad choices.

    "The need for biometrics in Identity Cards"

    "At EU level ID cards are often used to demonstrate a right to travel. For that reason Member States believe it is important that their national identity cards are secure, and have some common security features, ensuring a degree of consistency. Although, the EC does not have legislative competence in this field there would be advantages in setting minimum security and technical standards."

    "The inclusion of biometrics in identity cards will significantly improve the effectiveness and efficiency of proving identity when using an identity card. For example it will be possible to prevent people, particularly criminals, enrolling on a given system twice, because their biometrics can be checked against those already on the database: so it will not be possible to have multiple ID cards. It also means a person can better prove their established identity when using public services or in commercial transactions. The term “established identity” is used because, although the biometric is important in making a link to a person, it has to be combined with reliable checks on an individual’s actual identity."

  20. Christoph

    No wonder they are privatising it

    That list of requirements is a pretty good list of the things that the government have been proved to be grossly incompetent at.

  21. James

    Here in Tescotland....

    ... where work makes you free and every little helps we fully expect our great and glorious overlords and masters (all hail the Leader Leahy) to provide our biometric IDs linked to our shopping, insurance, banking, medical and other data !

  22. peter

    Prediction of costs

    There are 'estimated' costs at the moment - which the government will probably keep to so as not to look complete umptys. That will probably require some governments money - so the taxpayer pays.

    Then the cost will be increased 'to make it cost neutral'. (i.e. to make sure it it will be profitable for private contractors)

    Then the cost will increased again to make it revenue earning. Probably of the back of some Green excuse.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Re: CCTV facial biometrics

    " will be possible to prevent people, particularly criminals, enrolling on a given system twice, because their biometrics can be checked against those already on the database"

    Is somebody smoking crack here?

    While (I believe) it's reasonably possible to use biometrics to check that you are who you say you are, surely what is stated here is complete nonsense? Is there any evidence *anywhere* that biometric data (short of a DNA sample) is uniquely identifiable?

    What happens when some poor sod gets rejected from the National/Euro ID system because his biometrics match someone elses? "Sorry sir, I'm afraid our records show that you already exist in a small village in Lithuania. We cannot grant you citizenship. Have a nice day!"

    Presumably (like any sensible criminal trying to get a duplicate ID), you just lose a bit of weight and try again in the hope that there's enough measurement error in the biometrics to ensure that you won't be flagged as a duplicate...

  24. Jason
    Thumb Down

    What if I don't want to pay?

    Ok, so the government makes this law, and then asks me to pay £30 for my ID card.

    What are they going to do if I refuse to pay, or, don't have enough money to pay? Lock me up?

    Fuck off you set of c*nts.

  25. Richard
    Thumb Down

    It's bad enough...

    Being forced to get these pieces of Gordonian shit is bad enough, without having to pay for it too.

    And another thing...

    How are they going to get every bum on the street to buy one of these? Are they just going to round them up one day for "processing"?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Only those...

    ...who have soemthing to hide etc, and El Reg readers obviously have a lot to hide. By opening parts of the system out to competition, the price will come down. That's before you factor in the drops in fraud, less wasted time etc AND the increase in security and terrorism prevention.

    Those against the ID system clearly do not understand the real world and are living in some La-la-land full of fluffy bunnies and sugar lumps. The real world is a nasty place and it is beholden on a government to protect its people. Thank god ours is doing something about it and not siding with criminals and terrorists like most commentators on here!

  27. martin burns
    Black Helicopters

    Cunning Plan for the Post Office

    The Post Office getting this during a closure programme isn't a problem - it's the point of the exercise; that way the public fall out of love with their neighbourhood sub-PO, and HMG can continue to shut them down without the opposition.

  28. Gulfie
    Black Helicopters

    Open and Competitive

    So a bit like the Nationwide spoof advert then? Lots of glitz, glitter, plush carpets and brand-new-id-customer-only service, and behind the facade, pisspoor security, under-investment in infrastructure, training and sod-all staff retention.

    From a security perspective alone the collection of this kind of highly personal data, for use by the government alone, should not be placed in the hands of the private sector. Hell, if banks can't stop hackers getting in and grabbing hundreds of thousands of credit card details, what hope is there for a commercial network collection ID card information?

    How about giving people a choice between a visit to a local government agency (e.g. tax office) and a visit to a local branch of a 'trusted partner'. Frankly neither appeal but I give the civil servants a fighting chance of doing a better job than the privateers. No, hang on, they are under-staffed as well.


    When will people realise that if you want a given level of service and security, you have to pay for it??? Why do the government constantly focus on signing the cheapest deals they can?


    Sigh... even Mystic Meg can predict what is going to happen here.

  29. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Post Office - they must be joking?

    I queued for 20 minutes at a post office yesterday to post a parcel. Every other person was there putting money in or taking money out, paying bills, getting travel money, you name it... am I now going to have to stand in line while people have their eyeballs scanned three or four times before being told the machine isn't working.

    And how long before the Paul Daniels fronted advertising campaign for Tesco Biometrics - with Clubcard points? Oooh probably shouldn't give them ideas, half the population would flock to Tescos if they thought they could get half price KitKats in exchange for their liberty.

  30. hugh

    re: Only those...

    yet you posted anonymously.

    oh the irony.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Only those...

    The world has always been a 'nasty place'. It's a lot less nasty than it used to be; only the media play it up so much you'd think it was much worse.

    And it is NOT beholden on a government to protect its people at the cost of our liberty and privacy. The government's function is to servants to its people in helping to maintain the society that its people want to live in. Not to become a master of its people. It is after all, supposed to be a democracy.

    Either your a troll, stupid, or been drinking too much of the current adminstration's cool-aid. Grow and grow a set.

  32. Mark

    re Only those...

    And John Prescott had something to hide and was REALLY upset at the invasion of his privacy.

    You see, we all have things to hide. It's called "privacy".

    Now ask for a FOIA release of MI5 documents. They don't have anything to hide, do they? 'cos your oft-repeated meme indicates that "something to hide" means "something nefarious to hide". And that isn't the case of this government or any branch thereof, is it. So they have nothing to hide. So why do they refuse to release information then?

    Oh, maybe "something to hide" is not a bad thing.

  33. Sillyfellow

    force me to pay?

    so, our completely untrustworthy and unreliable gvt are planning to impose something on me that i don't want, AND expect me to pay for it?

    and also force me to hand over my various biometrics (which i don't want them to have under any circumstance, or for any reason), AND then expect me to pay for that too?


    we already give the gvt a HUGE overall percentage of anything we earn, and anything we spend too...

    and what exactly do we get for this? Jacquie's wacky plans?.. i really can't think...

    trash collection? nope, pay council tax for that.

    essential utilities? nope, pay exorbitantly for that.

    communication? nope.. road/transport systems? nope..

    if i could, i would FIRE the entire government, dispose of the current corrupt, dishonest, and self-serving political system and replace it with a system where WE, the public, get to vote on any important issues..

    The govt clearly think that we work for, and answer to them....

    let me remind them and everyone that the gvt are supposed to work for us?

  34. Nomen Publicus

    Great News!

    Instead of bribing some low paid civil servant to get a fake ID, all you now have to do is bribe some minimum wage oik in the local supermarket. A much safer and cheaper proposition.

    Sometimes I wonder if the government can be naturally this stupid or do they get sent on special courses :-)

    BTW, as the card now costs £30 and the taking of the biometric info is expected to cost £40 (+VAT?) it appears that an ID card really does cost almost £80 as predicted and denied by the government a year or so ago.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    But it's Friday, so I'll let you have the satisfaction of a response you numpty:

    "...who have soemthing to hide etc..."

    Ah, that well-known and thoroughly discredited aphorimsm. Di you have curtains on your windows, O anonymous one?

    "...and El Reg readers obviously have a lot to hide..."

    We certainly do from the kind of shitwit that considers any opposition to be shading towards treason. You know, the kind that's currently holding down the position of Home Secretary.

    "...By opening parts of the system out to competition, the price will come down..."

    Wot, you mean like energy prices? Yes, government departments tend to goldplate everything and be inefficient. But the private sector lie and cheat to demonstrate their profits, and farm the cost off on the end user, even if the scheme costs the Government directly less.

    "...That's before you factor in the drops in fraud, less wasted time etc..."

    Do you mean the ID card will save £20 billion worth of fraud and time? When there isn't that much total fraud that's even addressible by this method, and it's a full-on wast of time itself.

    "...AND the increase in security and terrorism prevention..."

    Every one of the Madrid bombers had ID cards. Didn't help stop them, did it? How would it have helped stop the 7/7 bombers, hm? Don't bother answering, because it wouldn't have.

    "Those against the ID system clearly do not understand the real world and are living in some La-la-land full of fluffy bunnies and sugar lumps. The real world is a nasty place and it is beholden on a government to protect its people. Thank god ours is doing something about it and not siding with criminals and terrorists like most commentators on here!"

    Whereas you've swalloed a barrow load of the government's bullshit, and are now vomiting it forth where it can at least be seen for the excrement that it is.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    There is none. I am sure El Reg has my IP recorded and could release it if the correct request was made from a suitable authority, just as my ID would be recorded and only releases when proper to do so.

    Whether or not I make my name, IP is available to Joe Public is still my choice. Just as it would be with the new ID system.

    Clearly you do not understand what is at stake or how the ID system will work.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: Only those...

    "The real world is a nasty place and it is beholden on a government to protect its people."


    Well, I can't say that at any time in my life have I been anywhere near an explosion or people trying to shoot me because of something that my government has done in my name, so I don't think that I really need much in the way of surveillance to enforce my safety.

    On the other hand, the bus drivers around here are mental, mental I say, and are always tearing around. I've had a number of near misses with bus drivers, so I think that the next wave of surveillance should be targeted more towards, you know, actual threats to my safety. Point a few of these cameras at some bus drivers - I and a lot of other people will feel far safer as a result of this than can be achieved by monitoring the general populace at all times.

    Gordon Brown works for me and everyone else, so he should be doing things that are tangibly beneficial, not things that require bent and manipulated statistics to prove to me how much better off I am (as if I can tell any difference). Nobody since my Mum has had any right to enforce certain modes of behaviour upon my because they "know better than me", certainly not Gordo and Wacky!

  38. Sillyfellow

    @ Only those... AC

    it's more about the gvt wanting to OWN, and fully control us.

    don't think for a second that our gvt care about you or any other 'commoner'.

    and it's also about a VAST WASTE OF OUR MONEY, for something that is oppressive, insecure, untrustworthy and unwanted..

    so, you've done nothing wrong, but ALL your details are in a central database...

    scenario: your details (in their entirety) are then 'lost' or stolen from this database, and someone then plausibly takes your identity and wipes you out financially... or even worse.. uses your 'particulars' to carry out other crimes or even simply frame you up..

    how are you going to prove your innocence?

    (since i understand that you will now be required to prove your innocence in any circumstance).


  39. Anonymous Coward

    Fraud prevention

    PINs I can change. Cards I can replace.

    Biometrics are largely fixed for life. If they get compromised you're pretty much fucked. So exactly how is this a step forward in security??

  40. Anonymous John

    @ I can see it now

    Five fingerprints or less/fewer.

  41. kevin biswas

    and the victims family are billed for the bullet....

    I am totally with sillyfellow, not only do they want to shaft us, they also want us to pay for the dubious privilege ! I feel a poll tax riot coming on............Anyone got any "cant pay wont pay" placards left over from the good old days of tory misrule ? Hard to believe some of us thought nu labor would make things better after all those years of being shafted by the likes of Micheal Portillo

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Protecting the people

    Protecting the people is the first job of government but protection from the government is the first job of a civilized society. Always test an idea against the extreme, ask yourself how the Nazis or Stazi would use this data base, it might not be an issue now but what about in 20 year time?

    I plan to provide Gordon Browns finger prints, put on a bit of weight and squint, job done, all access pass to gold plated pension! As any Reg reader will know the data capture for a database is critical so I am sure that the lowest bidder will be spending a fortune to ensure there are no errors introduced!

  43. Alan White

    RE: yu musht hav summefing to hyde

    <i>"Those against the ID system clearly do not understand the real world and are living in some La-la-land full of fluffy bunnies and sugar lumps. The real world is a nasty place and it is beholden on a government to protect its people. Thank god ours is doing something about it and not siding with criminals and terrorists like most commentators on here!"</i>

    Hi. Can I see your picture, date of birth, national insurance number, current address, blood type, physical measurements and work history please?

    No? What, you mean you trust me less than an organization with a track record of losing vast quantities of sensitive data, making abysmally poor encryption etc decisions, abusing civil liberties and with which you have no real legal recourse against?

    Seriously, read 1984 and some history. I'm not sure the world you think exists is real, where power never corrupts and governments are all happy clappy and not interested in their own furtherance.

  44. ElFatbob

    No thanks Jaqui

    now, just fuck off please.

  45. MikeG

    Biometrics? Hah!

    Biometrics - apart from fingerprints, which I don't think are included under that heading - are ridiculously inaccurate and hilariously reminiscent of the 19th century Bertillon System (look it up on Wiki) which had endless false positives and was eventually ditched in favour of fingerprints. The only people who stand to benefit from this crap are the fortunate contractors; someone really needs to dig into their links to Labour, because this absolutely stinks of plain brown envelopes and big backhanders.

  46. michael

    @ the troll

    "opening parts of the system out to competition, the price will come down"

    2 points to that

    1. competition only works when there is real competition not in a system where you have to get a card and there is only 1 to 2 bidders leadinfg on to

    2. copertition has certainley reduced prices of the other formor monopilyes like the rail and the gass and the electric and all has it not?

    3.EVEN if if was going to be cheeper do we realy want ecencle functions of goverment farmed out what next farm out tax colection cos that would defently be cheeper maby we could farm out the milirty that would be cheaper

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Anonymous Coward Posted Friday 7th November 2008 12:54 GMT

    @ Anonymous Coward 12:54

    Have you seen conclusive and absolute evidence that DNA is unique.

    It has only been proven statistacally that there are so many variables that given the size of the sample it is extremely unlikely.

    Statistically it is still possible, extremely remotely, that you and I have exactly the same DNA profile.

  48. MrWeeble

    [first title too long, second to short, I can't be arsed with this shit]

    organisations "will need to demonstrate their capability in securing applicants' data appropriately."

    Which is why the government is no longer planning on doing it themselves

  49. Blubster

    The sad part is

    That Jaqui Smith is convinced that we're all queueing up to get one!

  50. Mark

    DNA matches

    The chance of a DNA match are based on the human population. Most of which don't live in your neighbourhood (unless you live in Second Life) and most of which have much less genetically similarities to you than, say, your brother or aunt. Who, surprisingly enough, more often live in the same area as you, where you may become a suspect.

    An extreme case would be the movie Judge Dredd.

    DNA matches between people in the same village is NOT of the 1-in-14 million variety.

  51. michael

    @Suspicious Git

    "Have you seen conclusive and absolute evidence that DNA is unique."

    I assumed that identicle twins had identice dna

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    having cut my finger a couple of weeks ago and now having a scar I didn't have before would that mean I'd have to go and get my records that would cost me another 40 pound, well it would if I hadn't just moved to Canada.

    Even allowing for that I wonder how often temporary cuts, scratches or whatever make our fingerprints different enough. I seem to remember reading that just taking them after you've held a hot cup can trigger a false positive. Going to get very boring very quickly when my prints won't scan at Tesco's because it's a hot day or I've just been getting food from the freezer section.

    The reason finger prints work as evidence now is that they are taken in optimal conditions and if a partial match is found they can then follow up, they don't need a full match to start an investigation.

  53. Andy Taylor
    Thumb Down

    Information Security

    Well, at least the supermarkets have a better track record of keeping personal data safe than Government agencies or contractors.

    I suspect all these unfortunate data losses are delibrately designed to make personal data less valuable as a prelude to the ID card.

    When's the election due?

  54. Anonymous Coward


    Buy one ID, get one free?

  55. Dave
    Black Helicopters

    One piece of Biometric I'll happily show

    For an ID card I'll happily photocopy my arse. Just for the sheer joy of proving my ID to any of Jakkky's stasi.

    "Mr Goatse, you are required to prove who you say you are"

    OK, Unbuckle, ziiiiip!

    Just as long as its not a cold day

    (In Jacqui's case, on 50% reduction she should just about manage it on a sheet of A1)

  56. Rob

    Does the populace ACTUALLY get to make a choice on this?

    .. it seems not, so we're already heading for 1984 (are we? have the other EU countries with ID cards become totalitarian states?)

    Way more people seem to be against it than for it. So how does this constitute a democracy? Is there a referendum?

    Ok there's a general election coming up, who can I vote for that will actually stop the already launched mission to introduce ID cards?

  57. James Micallef Silver badge

    Whoever issues it, surely the cost should be 0?

    Its extremely simple - once the card comes into use, it is effectively mandatory. If I choose to not have one, then I can't get any benefit of being a citizen, becoming, in effect, a non-citizen. So the bottom line is that the UK gov are demanding payment for full and effective citizenship.

    So whatever the merits or otherwise of the card, it should at least be provided for free

  58. Mark

    re: Whoever issues it, surely the cost should be 0?

    So how will it be made? After all, free doesn't pay for materials, salaries, machinery and all the support paraphenalia.

    How will it be paid for if it is free?

    By coming out of increased taxes (which the rich can afford to bypass and the middle classes and poor cannot) or by reducing services (which the rich use as an emergency backup, so won't see the difference).

    So you'll end up paying for it anyway, just not in a way you can avoid.

  59. Mark
    Paris Hilton


    IIRC Dave, the striations on the end of a male penis is as unique as a fingerprint and has the added advantage that you don't leave it on cups, stairs and doorknobs. Unless that's your sort of thing...

    So whip that whanger out and say "Take your print off that, Darlin'!".

    The queue for the scanner system may drop considerably when you wipe your wang to get through the gate. And the police won't be able to take you to jail for flopping the fellow out because they are demanding you do so!

    I'm not sure if women have a suitable replacement...

  60. Andrew Duffin

    Aye right

    organisations "will need to demonstrate their capability in securing applicants' data appropriately."

    So that's the government ruled out then.


  61. Alan Fisher

    What a load of todgers

    Farming out CRB to Capita worked wonders didn't it? Didn't it??

    Oh yes the cost going up significantly, the waiting time going through the firmament, the level of mistakes going stellar.....hmmmm does t'govment learn nowt?

    The result will be;

    1) Business A will win on unrealistic promises and tender

    2) Business A will farm out to Business B who will people a call centre with 17 year old McDonalds rejects who can bearly spell their own name in order to save costs

    3) Business B might open operations in India or Malaysia to further cut costs

    4) Business B will get greedy and demand more cash so Business A will up costs

    5) Passports will get lost, contain errors or applications will "get lost"

    6) 2-6 weeks wait will become 2-6 months, not including correction of mistakes

    7) HM Govment will hail it as a resounding success!

    Thank god I took the option to revert back to my Irish Citizenship (as a Northern Irish person of Birth) and never have to face this Brown-spawned farce ever again!! Sorry about you lot who must!

  62. Midas


    Sod it! Everytime big Gov pretends to know better than the people what's good for them, a snake's egg is laid, and all of those will be hatching pretty quickly...

    Oh! And a big thanks from continental Europe for another brilliant Britton idea for keeping the Eurocrats in the business of screwing the Europeans -- instead of what they are princely paid for, that is to promote a fairer and better continent for us to live in. If the UK can't make up is mind to fully join the EU, it should just piss off, and not spend time looking for ways to screw the system more than it already is.

    Sorry for the outburst, but I had no idea biometric IDs where the UK nulabour brainchild.

    The Black Jack, 'cause I'm beguining to see the point of buccanneers (and citizen militias)

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