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The Internet, Web Based Security And Social Media: Is Privacy Really Privacy?

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There was a time when we all used to hear that “the world is becoming a global village”. Well, this is no longer the case as the world has long since become a global village and that is the very premise upon which this paper is written. The world has even become even smaller that we thought.

From the humble beginnings of the internet being merely a quick means of communication it has transcended its horizons to become a platform where almost every vital information (ranging from home addresses to credit card numbers) is written and even in most cases stored. Large businesses and corporate organizations use it for business transactions, youths and even the elderly post almost every detail of their everyday lives via pictures and videos through uploading, files and data are stored on the web and shared and this does not even compare to the vast amount of information that can be downloaded at the simple click of a button. Scary isn’t it?

We are fast approaching the 22nd century and it is amazing the amount of rapid development that we have observed from the 19th century. We have such a vast amount of information available at our disposal that almost everyone has access to any kind of information at the click of a button and I mean any kind.

There are more than a million websites providing and receiving access to vast information from job search websites to online libraries and e-book stores to social media websites only to  mention a few. It is also no hidden fact that to register as an online member and enjoy the seeming privileges  of any social platform or even business website, personal information will have to be inputted such as  names, date of birth and emails. Even when purchasing products online which has become the new way to shop, bank accounts and even credit card details are imputed.

The fulcrum of most of these online activities are that online agreements to ‘terms and conditions’ containing voluminous information as to the rights of incoming users are usually in tiny print and are hardly, if ever read by most of the users. This agreements are simply just agreed to with just a click, granting access to personal information by the social media platform or internet service and with a consensual right to do so. Such imputations are then stated to be protected but then again, How truly safe is safe? How aware are we of the so called ‘security arrangements to ensure that confidentiality been put in place?

Is it not persons or organizations headed by persons that are actually in charge of the information that seems to be kept confidential? What rights do we have as online and active internet users on this web based platforms? *pause to consider*

This is not to say that there no numerous advantages of doing transactions online. It’s a very cheap means of communication and getting information across way faster than if it was done via phone calls or having to go deliver a document or a series of documents personally. There is access to a lot of background information concerning agencies, companies and organizations with whom business transactions are to be done with and this allows for proper knowledge about the other party. There is also no time limitation for accessibility to information and it can be accessed outside a formal working environment.

Indeed we live in a world where there is a need to become aware and take advantage of the internet and its many advantages but just as the biblical saying goes,  ‘ Be as wise as serpents and as gentle as doves” we need to be aware of some of the harsh realities and potential risks of active internet use so as to be properly guided. The truth is that most information that are stored online are permanent and most times non erasable. It may be deleted but then again, not so easily formatted and can be accessed at any time.

E-mails contain a written record of transactions and this can be made public if not properly encrypted. It is a terrible thing when a website of a company or a personal web page containing vital and secret information is hacked into. This can lead to a valuable loss of data acquired over a period of time which can be used for fraud or other illegal purposes. It has commonly been reported by many face book account holders that their accounts have been hacked into and pornographic and other harmful material has been posted on their pages without consent. Not to even mention the offensive and many at times libelous materials are posted online and can spread all over the world in very few minutes despite the fact that such information might be false. Social networking sites are very popular, with hundreds of millions of users between them.

However there has been growing concern over privacy violations caused by such sites. Some concerns relate to media and communications literacy, with many users unaware of the risks involved in revealing personal information to others. Many users do not exercise restraint about who they allow to see their data, and many users are believed to befriend people that they do not know well. This can have considerable implications given, for example, that on Facebook, the average user has 130 friends on the site.

A study was carried out in the UK and it was seen that of 191 largest international companies, 84% gave employees unlimited use of the internet. More than 8 out of 10 employees looked at entertainment, sports news, organized personal finances and booked holidays in working time. Half of the dozen using the internet at work visited chat rooms. This survey was done in the year 1991. The hidden but obvious question now is how did was this information gotten? Obviously there were monitoring systems able to access and track whatever site the employees were accessing. This is the reality of most internet surfing where records of pages and sites visited and can be retrieved. Shocking isn’t it?

Each computer, mobile phone or other device attached to the Internet has a unique IP address, which provides unique identification for every device and which means in turn that they can be traced. The ability to locate any device creates significant new privacy challenges. Let me shock you more…. Statistics from the ITU, show that between 2005 and 2010 alone, the number of Internet users doubled. In 1995 only 0.4% of the world’s population had access to the Internet, by March 2011 that percentage had erupted to 30.2%.15. This corresponds to more than two billion Internet users, 1.2 billion of whom are in developed countries. The rise in usage of mobile phones has been even more extraordinary. Today there are more than 5.3 billion mobile cellular subscriptions worldwide. Access to mobile networks is available to 90% of the world’s population, and some commentators believe that universal availability may be achieved within the next five years.

Currently there are about 5 billion online users of internet facilities. The current facebook Third quarter 2015 summary of active users Daily Active Users were 1.01 billion on average, an increase of 17% year over year. Mobile Daily Active users were 894 million for September 2015, an increase of 27% year over year. And by this time tomorrow it would have increased still. It makes users vulnerable to unilateral changes made by Facebook and also other social networks to their privacy policies and privacy practices. Users are sufficiently locked-in to the social network that even if they fundamentally disagree with social network privacy policies, they are unlikely to leave the network. This substantially increases the leverage of the social network over their users’ privacy.

In developed countries it as recently reported that there are more mobile subscriptions than there are people (113.6 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants), and while the number is much lower in developing countries, it is still very high, with 56.8 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants. One can only imagine the rapid growth of ICT now in the year 2015.

Even  Internet service Providers (ISP’s)  have also been culprits in the way personal information has been exchanged and used. Due to the fact that most ISP’s are state owned and is subject to licensing agreements that mandate them to provide data to public agencies, they become more vulnerable to share and give large amounts of personal data to state authorities for some reasonable amount of consideration such as more and exclusive access to  additional internet content.  Other forms in which privacy of data has also become a concern is through forms such as cloud computing; where large amounts of personal data are being stored in an online ‘cloud’, personal data is transmitted across the Internet and this most definitely poses a risk to how that data is controlled  by that individual. Some of the risks of this is that a “cloud provider may, without notice to a user, move the user’s information from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, from provider to provider, or from machine to machine.”

Another source is the use of search engines, this resource allows persons to navigate through an incredible amount of data and information online so it will not be strange to find out that they would have vast amounts of personal data available due to the nature of their business model.

Similarly, mobile phones which also include smart phones give undeniable access to personal data and can negate the concept of user privacy and this includes unique mobile device (IMEI) and SIM card (IMSI) identifiers, the ability to regularly ascertain the approximate geographic location of mobile device and the ability for third parties to intercept wireless mobile communications as they travel through the air. This is the situation as long as the mobile phone is connected to the internet.

Social media and networking also poses its challenges to privacy as it can be sufficient for personal data to be publicly available only for a short period of time before it is already distributed onto many other sites and online spaces.

With current technological advancements there is no doubt that the Internet, in turn, inevitably reshapes what we understand privacy to be in the modern world.  A UNESCO publication series on internet freedom recently stated that and we will all agree that :

There are significant new developments in biometrics, such as facial recognition, finger scanning and iris-scanning, which are becoming increasingly popular as a method to secure identification. Such biometric devices have a wide variety of uses – they are used  to prevent fraud by retailers and restaurant owners, to identify voters in elections, to provide immigration access (rather than use a passport), to maintain attendance records in workplaces or to gain access to high-security areas. While there is a great deal of social utility in these applications there are concerns about the control of such digital data, particularly questions of storage and access. There has been a particular controversy about whole body imaging used at airports following attempts by terrorists to smuggle

bombs on planes inside their clothing. Many travelers dislike the use of technologies which penetrate clothing and produce what is essentially a nude image of an individual which is viewed by others. Many find this to be an invasion of their privacy. Against these privacy concerns must be balanced the safety of passengers of course but in these fast moving circumstances striking the right balance is fraught with difficulties.

This is the million dollar question, Do individual Internet users have control over their own personal data, including over how it is collected, retained, processed, used and disclosed?

At this point it will be wise to state that the word privacy in its real sense is related to internet and cyber space can be regarded as having a dual aspect – it is concerned with what information or side of our lives we can keep private; and also with the ways in which third parties deal with the information that they hold – whether it is safeguarded, shared, who has access and under what conditions. This however differs in definition to what is known as data protection.

Data protection on the other hand  although it is related to the concept of privacy and the internet, it is of more recent origin as a result of the increase in how personal data of individuals was collected by the government. The idea behind data protection is that individuals have the right to control the collection and use of data by which they are identified. This simply means that the gathering and holding of personal information by public or private bodies must be regulated and individuals can as of right choose who holds their information, for what purpose and what kind of information might be held.

One of the exception towards this is police investigations into crime here personal information will definitely be needed and gotten. However, there is a slight distinction, data protection principles are not totally subsumed under the human right to privacy as will be popularly thought, its principles can however be derived from it and this is recognized on an international scale. Data protection rules are also different from privacy, both in their scope and substantive rules. Data protection applies to all personally identifying data, while privacy, although it has never been comprehensively defined, applies only to a narrower scope of information, normally information about which a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy. This simply means that data protection is limited in  relation to processed information while privacy in itself relates to any event or matter an individual expects should be kept private.

Despite the challenges of  protection user information due to the transnationality of the internet and some of the issues raised above, many states have enacted data protection laws since the 1980’s even till now but then again it should be noted that legislation and public policy have had significant difficulty in keeping up with rapid growth of technology.

Let us see some international and domestic legislation on these concepts ;

Privacy finds direct and explicit protection under international human rights law. Article 12 of the UDHR (Universal Declaration of Human Rights) states:

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, or to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.”

Within the United Nations, General Assembly Resolution 45/95, Guidelines for the regulation of computerized personal data files, sets out ten key principles on data protection. These are relevant primarily to national legislation but are also binding on intergovernmental organizations, with appropriate modifications. They apply to publicly and privately held computerized files containing data on individuals, and may be extended to cover manual files and/or data on legal persons. Some of the guidelines of this law include; Lawfulness and Fairness which states that the collection of data should be fair and lawful and not contrary to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

Accuracy which means that information gotten should by data controllers should be checked regularly to ensure that information gotten are relevant and accurate and should be complete for the purpose for which it was collected. Purpose-Specification meaning that the purpose for which data is collected should be legitimate and brought to the attention of the data subjects, the data should not be used for other, incompatible, purposes, and the data should only be kept for as long as necessary to serve this purpose. Interested-Person Access meaning that data subjects have the right to know when their data is being collected or processed, to access that data in an intelligible form, without undue delay or expense and to make appropriate rectifications or deletions.

Non-Discrimination which states that any exceptions to these principles may not be discriminatory in nature. Security, a guideline which states that appropriate measures should be taken to protect data against both natural and human risks, including unauthorized access, misuse or physical contamination. The Guidelines recognize that there may be a need for exceptions from the first five principles, but only as necessary to protect national security, public order, health and morals, or the rights and freedoms of others.

Here in Nigeria, Section 37 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides:

“The privacy of citizens, their homes, correspondence, telephone conversations and telegraphic communications is hereby guaranteed and protected.”

Section 45, however, provides that this shall not invalidate any law that is “reasonably justifiable in a democratic society (a) in the interest of defense, public safety, public order, public morality or public health; or (b) for the purpose of protecting the rights and freedom or other persons.”

However there is little jurisprudence on how these actually applies in practice in relation to this internet law in practice.

Section 12(4) of the Computer Security and Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Bill, 2005 does provide for a very limited form of data protection as follows:

“Any data retained, processed or retrieved by the service provider at the request of any law enforcement agency under this Act or pursuant to any regulation under this section, shall not be utilized except for legitimate purposes. Under this Act, utilization of the data retained, processed

or retrieved shall constitute legitimate purpose only with the consent of individuals to whom the data applies or authorized by a court of competent jurisdiction or other lawful authority.”

There is a need for Nigerian legislation to keep up with the current rate of technological development and just as other countries have established frameworks to ensure that the society is kept abreast of the legal implication of internet and illegal use of it, there is indeed a call for the respective governments to make up to date legislations and Nigeria is not excluded.

Also Read Interview With Street Global Venture Capital Partners, Alysia Silberg And Christian Meyers

We also have the Cyber Crimes Law in 2013. This enactment of this bill is to curb the activities of internet scammers who always give the country a bad name locally and physically, it also ensures protection of critical national information infrastructure and therefore allows for detection, prevention and prosecution of cyber crimes and other related matters. The criticism against this enactment however was the fact that it was observed the CEO of Mobile Software solutions Chris Uwaje that the law is fundamentally flawed by the fact that the foundation for the ICT Legislation Architecture of Nigeria which is the “National Information Technology (IT) Bill” and its enabling acts has not been laid.

This is a very important observation to look into because like the legal saying goes  “you cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stand”. It is my suggestion that a basic foundational frame work and adequate legislation to cover lacunas of the previous laws should enacted be must adequately be taken care of. Some of the recommendations I suggest are:

Firstly, our legal frame work should be well equipped to handle and clearly point out the extent, limits and restrictions towards the use of personal information by both private and public organizations alike. The United Nations, General Assembly Resolution 45/95, Guidelines for the regulation of computerized personal data files should be if not already enacted into our domestic laws, this will go in no small way to define the concept of privacy and its relationship to data protection. Constitutional safeguards to individual privacy must be respected and should be backed up with providing for recourse to civil action for breaches of privacy.

Secondly, states should put in place strong data protection regimes which should also include broad applicability, the right of consent, the right to  access and correct, obligations on data controllers and the right of redress.

Thirdly, corporations should commit to developing clear privacy policies and make users of this various social media outlets be aware of their existing privacy policies and notify the users if there will be any change in such policies. Corporate and public initiatives should also do well to ensure the encryption of data information through the use of strong encryption technologies.

Finally in this 21st century the biggest role player in tackling and handling this issue is the media and the educational system. The media should play a role in informing the public about the importance of internet privacy and the various challenges that arise as a result of the development of the internet, such as the sometimes careless approach towards privacy some of which has been pontificated in this paper. Journalism has a vital role to play here as well as they need to be aware and create awareness on how the rate of development of internet technology can affect the public in relation to its privacy concerns.

Also Read Interview With The co-founders Of Vuuqa, Horesia Nyawade and Tshiwela Ncube

There is also the need to be updated about current user privacy policies being used by corporations and companies alike many of whom provide internet and  social media services.  An example of this can be done through developing awareness campaigns, raising resources and making them accessible online and in other places where adults can access them. Nigeria as a country should include Media and Internet literacy as a basic life-skill in the education system, starting from quite an early age to even the university level as part of broader civic education or human development courses so as to be equipped with the requisite technical knowledge.

Parents should not neglect teaching their wards on proper use of the internet and its facilities and the dangers of improper use.

When the government including Domestic and International state actors, the media, corporate bodies and companies including Internet Service Providers and even parents cooperate,  there will be a sizeable achievement towards the protection of privacy not only domestically but on a  global scale.

 

Author:

Rosemond Phil -Othihiwa (LLB.HONS. BL)

 

REFERENCES

  •  Ani, L. Cyber crime and national security: the role of the penal and procedural law T.G. George-Maria Tyendezwa , Legislation On Cybercrime In Nigeria: Imperatives And Challenges.
  • Facebook, (2012) “ Statistics” published online http://www.facebook.com/press/info.php?statistics
  • Turow, J. Americans and Online Privacy: The System is Broken
  • Electronic Privacy Information Center. (2011). Face Recognition. (EPIC). Retrieved December 13, 2011, from https://epic.org/privacy/facerecognition/ http://www.securitymanagement.com/archive/library/Anneberg_privacy1003.pdf
  • Toby M, Andrew P, Ben W, Dixie H, Natalia T, UNESCO SERIES ON INTERNET FREEDOM, Cultural Organization, Internet Privacy and Freedom of Expression communication and Information Sector, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
  • Privacy International, (2006) “Privacy and Human Rights 2006: An International Survey of Privacy Laws and Developments”http://www.privacyinternational.org/article.shtml?cmd[347]=x-34765435&als[theme]=Privacy%20and%20Human%20Rights
  • Privacy International. (2006). Privacy International 2006 – Executive Summary. Retrieved December 13, 2011, from https://www.privacyinternational.org/article/phr2006-executive-summary
  • Hargittai, E. (2010). Trust online: young adults’ evaluation of web content. International Journal of Communication, 4.
  • Google. (2011). Google Transparency Report. Google. Retrieved December 13, 2011, from https://www.google.com/transparencyreport/
  • Fitzpatrick, M. “Mobile that allows bosses to snoop on staff developed” BBC News 10/03/2010 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8559683.stm

 

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4 Essential Points To Consider Before Buying a Power Bank

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Power bank render (image: belkin), Article: John Neesham

Smartphones have emerged as an indispensable part of our lives. From the instant, we awaken we’re maximum probably to be using our smartphones most of the day. We need to either speak with other human beings or use it as a form of enjoyment through smartphones. You need to buy the best power bank which will help in your bad conditions where no charger can help you.

All these elements cause your battery to run low. Which is one of the fundamental motives why the best power bank exists. in recent times. While deciding to own an electricity financial institution you’ll find out that there are numerous alternatives on the market. How do you choose the right best portable power bank? You should consider the following listed reasons before buying a portable charger. The best power bank is one of the most beneficial devices nowadays.

Whenever you spot your cellphone or your Nintendo transfer about to die, plug it into a power financial institution. And it’ll start charging immediately. That stated, shopping for a strong financial institution isn’t that easy as it appears.  When you have purchased one and aren’t satisfied with it. We consider you could have neglected some crucial elements.

At the same time as buying an energy bank, you ought to don’t forget factors like the brand call, customer support. And the actual capability of the tool, among many different things.

  1. Portability

Whilst the portable charger is actually too big to be installed in your pocket or too heavy to hold around, may you be willing to apply it anymore? If you continually convey the transportable charger with you wherever you cross. You ought to not forget a light energy best portable power bank with a graceful design.

  1. The Capacity of The Power Bank

How frequently might you want to rate your digital devices without charging your electricity financial institution? that could be a query that the capability of the strongest financial institution can tell you. Every other critical question is, for what tool you’ll use your strong financial institution? A pc needs more energy than a phone. A phone can be charged with an electricity financial institution of 3.350 mAh however a pc wishes more electricity.  In need of a laptop energy bank? Use an energy bank with a capacity of 30.000 mAh or better. 

  1. Price and Quality

If you are searching for the best-power financial institution that suits your wishes. You have to look in addition to just the photos. check the specs and determine what specs are crucial for your usage of the strongest financial institution. Occasionally a less expensive model isn’t matching your desires. And the reasonably-priced energy bank may not last as long as you want.

Moreover, another cause to take a good look at the price exceptional ratio is the overload. A few reasonably-priced strength banks can overload and damage your electronic devices. All of our strength banks are tested and meet all ECU safety needs.

  1. Usage of The Power Bank

An energy financial institution may be used for greater than just one cause. A student can use an electricity financial institution inside the bus to school when there is no socket available. A climber can use the best portable power bank to use his smartphone when he needs to send an emergency signal. Or a survival specialist can use an outdoor power bank when a storm is raging over him.

 

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African fintech aYo looks to data to drive growth

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African fintech aYo Holdings Group CEO, Marius Botha (Image: Supplied)

African fintech aYo Holdings is transforming its technology back end and data management approach as it gears up to drive greater scale, better customer experience and faster access to markets across the African continent in the coming years.

The company already has more than 15 million customers using its microinsurance products across Uganda, Ghana, Zambia and Côte d’Ivoire, and Group CEO Marius Botha says its vision is to grow into the largest financial services technology platform in Africa by enabling the distribution of a range of affordable and accessible micro financial services products.

aYo and its shareholder, MTN, are currently working on the final details of a partnership with a new insurance group for access to more underwriter licenses, in order to expand its product range and penetrate more markets.

“We see ourselves as a technology company first and foremost, that happens to sell microinsurance now. As our customers transition to a world where financial services are easily accessible via mobile phone and transacted via apps and other channels. We need to respond with a platform business model that will allow us to scale rapidly and cost-effectively manage material volumes of nano transactions,” said Botha.

Part of this technology evolution has seen aYo transition to a cloud data warehousing approach. Using Snowflake as a solution as it looks to deal with growing volumes of customer data.

“Data is a key asset that we want to grow and leverage, as it will allow us to drive better outcomes and value for our customers. Moving into a new generation data warehousing capability gives us the ability to analyse usable data faster, and build automated models for particular use cases. Like more granular target market segmentation, retention strategies and targeted customer propositions,” said Botha.

Choice of technology plays a critical role in ensuring the affordability of micro financial services by driving ‘frictional costs’ out of the system. Like the costings involved in using legacy tools and processes, or online physical hosting solutions. A solution like Snowflake helps the company to scale up and down according to demand. And makes it easier to build real-time reporting capabilities which are key strategic aims.

“We’re excited to be experimenting with world-class technologies that help accelerate our vision to enable first-time access to financial services for many African consumers, and bring them into the economic mainstream. That’s where insurtechs are truly contributing to financial inclusion across the continent, and making a positive difference to people’s lives,” said Botha.

 

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Social media main enabler for growth among women-owned businesses

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95% of women SMEs in the region identify social media channels as the top tool to drive their business ventures

Mastercard, the Official Payment Technology Partner of Expo 2020 Dubai, and Female Fusion Network unveiled new research at the first in a series of workshops for the region’s female entrepreneurs at the world’s largest cultural gathering.

Held at Expo 2020 Dubai’s Women’s Pavilion, in collaboration with Cartier, the session focused on the power of the digital economy in enabling women-owned businesses to go online. In a study conducted among Female Fusion’s network of 20,000+ members across the region, it was revealed that 95% of women SMEs in the region identify social media channels as the top tool for their business ventures. Other channels include their own e-commerce websites (72%) as well as messaging services such as Facebook and Whatsapp (50%).

In addition, three out of four (72%) women-owned businesses said they rely on word of mouth to market their products and services. The workshop identified how SMEs can make the most of their online footprint, and better connect to their consumers in a digital economy.

Speakers included Ngozi Megwa, Senior Vice President, Digital Partnerships MEA, Mastercard, Sarah Beydoun, Founder and Creative Director of social impact fashion business Sarah’s Bag in Lebanon, Ioanna Angelidaki, co-founder of Instashop, and Maureen Hall, Founder and CEO of COÉGA Sunwear.

“The findings from the study indicate a clear need for further education and empowerment. Mastercard has long pushed for the success and growth of women as we break gender barriers around the world. Digital tools and technologies are the greatest equalizer for businesses and as the shift towards e-commerce becomes increasingly permanent, we are committed to helping women businesses go digital and grow digital as they pursue their entrepreneurial passions,” said Ngozi Megwa, Senior Vice President, Digital Partnerships MEA, Mastercard.

The recent unveiling of the inaugural Mastercard MEA SME Confidence Index also revealed that in terms of a digital footprint of the region’s women entrepreneurs, social media (71%) leads the way followed by a company website (57%).

“We are proud of the successful launch of our workshop series in partnership with Mastercard. As a growing community of ambitious women leaders, Female Fusion Network looks to support our members with access to platforms that offer simple yet effective takeaways for them to grow their business. We look forward to having more of these impactful sessions during Expo 2020 Dubai,” said Jennifer Blandos, Managing Partner, Female Fusion Network.

Mastercard has made a global commitment to connect 25 million women entrepreneurs to the digital economy by 2025 as part of its goal to build a more sustainable and inclusive world. As part of its efforts, the technology leader recently launched  ‘The Entrepreneur’s Odyssey’ a first-of-its kind digital education platform that brings together a range of world-class academic and business resources to help small businesses learn and thrive.

 

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