NEW YORK (AP) — Five years after the start of the Great Recession, the toll is terrifyingly clear: Millions of middle-class jobs have been lost in developed countries the world over.

And the situation is even worse than it appears.

Most of the jobs will never return, and millions more are likely to vanish as well, say experts who study the labor market. What's more, these jobs aren't just being lost to China and other developing countries, and they aren't just factory work. Increasingly, jobs are disappearing in the service sector, home to two-thirds of all workers.

They're being obliterated by technology.

Year after year, the software that runs computers and an array of other machines and devices becomes more sophisticated and powerful and capable of doing more efficiently tasks that humans have always done. For decades, science fiction warned of a future when we would be architects of our own obsolescence, replaced by our machines; an Associated Press analysis finds that the future has arrived.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: First in a three-part series on the loss of middle-class jobs in the wake of the Great Recession, and the role of technology.

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"The jobs that are going away aren't coming back," says Andrew McAfee, principal research scientist at the Center for Digital Business at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and co-author of "Race Against the Machine." ''I have never seen a period where computers demonstrated as many skills and abilities as they have over the past seven years."

The global economy is being reshaped by machines that generate and analyze vast amounts of data; by devices such as smartphones and tablet computers that let people work just about anywhere, even when they're on the move; by smarter, nimbler robots; and by services that let businesses rent computing power when they need it, instead of installing expensive equipment and hiring IT staffs to run it. Whole employment categories, from secretaries to travel agents, are starting to disappear.

"There's no sector of the economy that's going to get a pass," says Martin Ford, who runs a software company and wrote "The Lights in the Tunnel," a book predicting widespread job losses. "It's everywhere."

The numbers startle even labor economists. In the United States, half the 7.5 million jobs lost during the Great Recession were in industries that pay middle-class wages, ranging from $38,000 to $68,000. But only 2 percent of the 3.5 million jobs gained since the recession ended in June 2009 are in midpay industries. Nearly 70 percent are in low-pay industries, 29 percent in industries that pay well.

In the 17 European countries that use the euro as their currency, the numbers are even worse. Almost 4.3 million low-pay jobs have been gained since mid-2009, but the loss of midpay jobs has never stopped. A total of 7.6 million disappeared from January 2008 through last June.

Experts warn that this "hollowing out" of the middle-class workforce is far from over. They predict the loss of millions more jobs as technology becomes even more sophisticated and reaches deeper into our lives. Maarten Goos, an economist at the University of Leuven in Belgium, says Europe could double its middle-class job losses.

Some occupations are beneficiaries of the march of technology, such as software engineers and app designers for smartphones and tablet computers. Overall, though, technology is eliminating far more jobs than it is creating.

To understand the impact technology is having on middle-class jobs in developed countries, the AP analyzed employment data from 20 countries; tracked changes in hiring by industry, pay and task; compared job losses and gains during recessions and expansions over the past four decades; and interviewed economists, technology experts, robot manufacturers, software developers, entrepreneurs and people in the labor force who ranged from CEOs to the unemployed.

The AP's key findings:

—For more than three decades, technology has reduced the number of jobs in manufacturing. Robots and other machines controlled by computer programs work faster and make fewer mistakes than humans. Now, that same efficiency is being unleashed in the service economy, which employs more than two-thirds of the workforce in developed countries. Technology is eliminating jobs in office buildings, retail establishments and other businesses consumers deal with every day.

—Technology is being adopted by every kind of organization that employs people. It's replacing workers in large corporations and small businesses, established companies and start-ups. It's being used by schools, colleges and universities; hospitals and other medical facilities; nonprofit organizations and the military.

—The most vulnerable workers are doing repetitive tasks that programmers can write software for — an accountant checking a list of numbers, an office manager filing forms, a paralegal reviewing documents for key words to help in a case. As software becomes even more sophisticated, victims are expected to include those who juggle tasks, such as supervisors and managers — workers who thought they were protected by a college degree.

—Thanks to technology, companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 stock index reported one-third more profit the past year than they earned the year before the Great Recession. They've also expanded their businesses, but total employment, at 21.1 million, has declined by a half-million.

—Start-ups account for much of the job growth in developed economies, but software is allowing entrepreneurs to launch businesses with a third fewer employees than in the 1990s. There is less need for administrative support and back-office jobs that handle accounting, payroll and benefits.

—It's becoming a self-serve world. Instead of relying on someone else in the workplace or our personal lives, we use technology to do tasks ourselves. Some find this frustrating; others like the feeling of control. Either way, this trend will only grow as software permeates our lives.

—Technology is replacing workers in developed countries regardless of their politics, policies and laws. Union rules and labor laws may slow the dismissal of employees, but no country is attempting to prohibit organizations from using technology that allows them to operate more efficiently — and with fewer employees.

Some analysts reject the idea that technology has been a big job killer. They note that the collapse of the housing market in the U. S., Ireland, Spain and other countries and the ensuing global recession wiped out millions of middle-class construction and factory jobs. In their view, governments could bring many of the jobs back if they would put aside worries about their heavy debts and spend more. Others note that jobs continue to be lost to China, India and other countries in the developing world.

But to the extent technology has played a role, it raises the specter of high unemployment even after economic growth accelerates. Some economists say millions of middle-class workers must be retrained to do other jobs if they hope to get work again. Others are more hopeful. They note that technological change over the centuries eventually has created more jobs than it destroyed, though the wait can be long and painful.

A common refrain: The developed world may face years of high middle-class unemployment, social discord, divisive politics, falling living standards and dashed hopes.

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In the U. S., the economic recovery that started in June 2009 has been called the third straight "jobless recovery."

But that's a misnomer. The jobs came back after the first two.

Most recessions since World War II were followed by a surge in new jobs as consumers started spending again and companies hired to meet the new demand. In the months after recessions ended in 1991 and 2001, there was no familiar snap-back, but all the jobs had returned in less than three years.

But 42 months after the Great Recession ended, the U. S. has gained only 3.5 million, or 47 percent, of the 7.5 million jobs that were lost. The 17 countries that use the euro had 3.5 million fewer jobs last June than in December 2007.

This has truly been a jobless recovery, and the lack of midpay jobs is almost entirely to blame.

Fifty percent of the U. S. jobs lost were in midpay industries, but Moody's Analytics, a research firm, says just 2 percent of the 3.5 million jobs gained are in that category. After the four previous recessions, at least 30 percent of jobs created — and as many as 46 percent — were in midpay industries.

Other studies that group jobs differently show a similar drop in middle-class work.

Some of the most startling studies have focused on midskill, midpay jobs that require tasks that follow well-defined procedures and are repeated throughout the day. Think travel agents, salespeople in stores, office assistants and back-office workers like benefits managers and payroll clerks, as well as machine operators and other factory jobs. An August 2012 paper by economists Henry Siu of the University of British Columbia and Nir Jaimovich of Duke University found these kinds of jobs comprise fewer than half of all jobs, yet accounted for nine of 10 of all losses in the Great Recession. And they have kept disappearing in the economic recovery.

Webb Wheel Products makes parts for truck brakes, which involves plenty of repetitive work. Its newest employee is the Doosan V550M, and it's a marvel. It can spin a 130-pound brake drum like a child's top, smooth its metal surface, then drill holes — all without missing a beat. And it doesn't take vacations or "complain about anything," says Dwayne Ricketts, president of the Cullman, Ala., company.

Thanks to computerized machines, Webb Wheel hasn't added a factory worker in three years, though it's making 300,000 more drums annually, a 25 percent increase.

"Everyone is waiting for the unemployment rate to drop, but I don't know if it will much," Ricketts says. "Companies in the recession learned to be more efficient, and they're not going to go back."

In Europe, companies couldn't go back even if they wanted to. The 17 countries that use the euro slipped into another recession 14 months ago, in November 2011. The current unemployment rate is a record 11.8 percent.

European companies had been using technology to replace midpay workers for years, and now that has accelerated.

"The recessions have amplified the trend," says Goos, the Belgian economist. "New jobs are being created, but not the middle-pay ones."

In Canada, a 2011 study by economists at the University of British Columbia and York University in Toronto found a similar pattern of middle-class losses, though they were working with older data. In the 15 years through 2006, the share of total jobs held by many midpay, midskill occupations shrank. The share held by foremen fell 37 percent, workers in administrative and senior clerical roles fell 18 percent and those in sales and service fell 12 percent.

In Japan, a 2009 report from Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo documented a "substantial" drop in midpay, midskill jobs in the five years through 2005, and linked it to technology.

Developing economies have been spared the technological onslaught — for now. Countries like Brazil and China are still growing middle-class jobs because they're shifting from export-driven to consumer-based economies. But even they are beginning to use more machines in manufacturing. The cheap labor they relied on to make goods from apparel to electronics is no longer so cheap as their living standards rise.

One example is Sunbird Engineering, a Hong Kong firm that makes mirror frames for heavy trucks at a factory in southern China. Salaries at its plant in Dongguan have nearly tripled from $80 a month in 2005 to $225 today. "Automation is the obvious next step," CEO Bill Pike says.

Sunbird is installing robotic arms that drill screws into a mirror assembly, work now done by hand. The machinery will allow the company to eliminate two positions on a 13-person assembly line. Pike hopes that additional automation will allow the company to reduce another five or six jobs from the line.

"By automating, we can outlive the labor cost increases inevitable in China," Pike says. "Those who automate in China will win the battle of increased costs."

Foxconn Technology Group, which assembles iPhones at factories in China, unveiled plans in 2011 to install one million robots over three years.

A recent headline in the China Daily newspaper: "Chinese robot wars set to erupt."

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Candidates for U. S. president last year never tired of telling Americans how jobs were being shipped overseas. China, with its vast army of cheaper labor and low-value currency, was easy to blame.

But most jobs cut in the U. S. and Europe weren't moved. No one got them. They vanished. And the villain in this story — a clever software engineer working in Silicon Valley or the high-tech hub around Heidelberg, Germany — isn't so easy to hate.

"It doesn't have political appeal to say the reason we have a problem is we're so successful in technology," says Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-winning economist at Columbia University. "There's no enemy there."

Unless you count family and friends and the person staring at you in the mirror. The uncomfortable truth is technology is killing jobs with the help of ordinary consumers by enabling them to quickly do tasks that workers used to do full time, for salaries.

Use a self-checkout lane at the supermarket or drugstore? A worker behind a cash register used to do that.

Buy clothes without visiting a store? You've taken work from a salesman.

Click "accept" in an email invitation to attend a meeting? You've pushed an office assistant closer to unemployment.

Book your vacation using an online program? You've helped lay off a travel agent. Perhaps at American Express Co., which announced this month that it plans to cut 5,400 jobs, mainly in its travel business, as more of its customers shift to online portals to plan trips.

Software is picking out worrisome blots in medical scans, running trains without conductors, driving cars without drivers, spotting profits in stocks trades in milliseconds, analyzing Twitter traffic to tell where to sell certain snacks, sifting through documents for evidence in court cases, recording power usage beamed from digital utility meters at millions of homes, and sorting returned library books.

Technology gives rise to "cheaper products and cool services," says David Autor, an economist at MIT, one of the first to document tech's role in cutting jobs. "But if you lose your job, that is slim compensation."

Even the most commonplace technologies — take, say, email — are making it tough for workers to get jobs, including ones with MBAs, like Roshanne Redmond, a former project manager at a commercial real estate developer.

"I used to get on the phone, talk to a secretary and coordinate calendars," Redmond says. "Now, things are done by computer."

Technology is used by companies to run leaner and smarter in good times and bad, but never more than in bad. In a recession, sales fall and companies cut jobs to save money. Then they turn to technology to do tasks people used to do. And that's when it hits them: They realize they don't have to re-hire the humans when business improves, or at least not as many.

The Hackett Group, a consultant on back-office jobs, estimates 2 million of them in finance, human resources, information technology and procurement have disappeared in the U. S. and Europe since the Great Recession. It pins the blame for more than half of the losses on technology. These are jobs that used to fill cubicles at almost every company — clerks paying bills and ordering supplies, benefits managers filing health-care forms and IT experts helping with computer crashes.

"The effect of (technology) on white-collar jobs is huge, but it's not obvious," says MIT's McAfee. Companies "don't put out a press release saying we're not hiring again because of machines."

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What hope is there for the future?

Historically, new companies and new industries have been the incubator of new jobs. Start-up companies no more than five years old are big sources of new jobs in developed economies. In the U. S., they accounted for 99 percent of new private sector jobs in 2005, according to a study by the University of Maryland's John Haltiwanger and two other economists.

But even these companies are hiring fewer people. The average new business employed 4.7 workers when it opened its doors in 2011, down from 7.6 in the 1990s, according to a Labor Department study released last March.

Technology is probably to blame, wrote the report's authors, Eleanor Choi and James Spletzer. Entrepreneurs no longer need people to do clerical and administrative tasks to help them get their businesses off the ground.

In the old days — say, 10 years ago — "you'd need an assistant pretty early to coordinate everything — or you'd pay a huge opportunity cost for the entrepreneur or the president to set up a meeting," says Jeff Connally, CEO of CMIT Solutions, a technology consultancy to small businesses.

Now technology means "you can look at your calendar and everybody else's calendar and — bing! — you've set up a meeting." So no assistant gets hired.

Entrepreneur Andrew Schrage started the financial advice website Money Crashers in 2009 with a partner and one freelance writer. The bare-bones start-up was only possible, Schrage says, because of technology that allowed the company to get online help with accounting and payroll and other support functions without hiring staff.

"Had I not had access to cloud computing and outsourcing, I estimate that I would have needed 5-10 employees to begin this venture," Schrage says. "I doubt I would have been able to launch my business."

Technological innovations have been throwing people out of jobs for centuries. But they eventually created more work, and greater wealth, than they destroyed. Ford, the author and software engineer, thinks there is reason to believe that this time will be different. He sees virtually no end to the inroads of computers into the workplace. Eventually, he says, software will threaten the livelihoods of doctors, lawyers and other highly skilled professionals.

Many economists are encouraged by history and think the gains eventually will outweigh the losses. But even they have doubts.

"What's different this time is that digital technologies show up in every corner of the economy," says McAfee, a self-described "digital optimist." ''Your tablet (computer) is just two or three years old, and it's already taken over our lives."

Peter Lindert, an economist at the University of California, Davis, says the computer is more destructive than innovations in the Industrial Revolution because the pace at which it is upending industries makes it hard for people to adapt.

Occupations that provided middle-class lifestyles for generations can disappear in a few years. Utility meter readers are just one example. As power companies began installing so-called smart readers outside homes, the number of meter readers in the U. S. plunged from 56,000 in 2001 to 36,000 in 2010, according to the Labor Department.

In 10 years? That number is expected to be zero.

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NEXT: Practically human: Can smart machines do your job?

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AP researcher Judith Ausuebel contributed to this story from New York. Paul Wiseman reported from Washington. You can reach the writers on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BernardFCondon and www.twitter.com/PaulWisemanAP. Join in a Twitter chat about this story on Thursday, Jan. 24, at noon E. S. T. using the hashtag (hash)TheGreatReset.

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  3. You shall be solely responsible for your own Contributed Material and the consequences of posting or publishing the Contributed Material. Without limiting clause 11.3, in connection with each of your Contributed Materials, you affirm, represent, and/or warrant that: (I) you own or have the necessary licenses, rights, consents, and permissions to use and authorize the Publisher to use all patent, trademark, trade secret, copyright or other intellectual property or proprietary rights in and to any and all such Contributed Material to enable inclusion and use of such Contributed Material in the manner contemplated by the Publisher and these Terms and Conditions; and (II) you have the written consent, release, and/or permission of each and every identifiable individual person in such Contributed Material to use the name or likeness of each and every such identifiable individual person to enable inclusion and use of such Contributed Material in the manner contemplated by the Publisher and these Terms and Conditions; and (III) the Contributed Materials and their use do not infringe any intellectual property rights or other rights of any person. In furtherance of the foregoing, you agree that you will not submit Material that is copyrighted, protected by trade secret or otherwise subject to third party proprietary rights, including privacy and publicity rights, unless you are the owner of such rights or have permission from their rightful owner to post the material and to grant the Publisher all of the rights granted herein. Publisher reserves the right to remove or not publish Contributed Material without prior notice. You understand that when you submit Material in any form to the Publisher, the Publisher may authorize such content to be distributed or syndicated to or published on other related branded environments.

  4. You may download and view or print a copy of Material on this Site for personal, non‑commercial use provided you do not modify the Material in any way (including any copyright notice). All rights not expressly granted under these terms of use are reserved by the Publisher. Unless expressly stated otherwise, you are not permitted to copy, or republish anything you find on the Site without the copyright or trademark owners' permission.

  5. All trade marks and logos that appear on the Site are owned by either the Publisher or its related bodies corporate or their licensors. Other trademarks may be displayed on the Site from time to time. These may belong to third parties. Nothing displayed on the Site should be construed as granting any license or right of use of any logo, trademark or masthead displayed on the Site, without the express written permission of the relevant owner.

Third party websites, content links, advertising and activities

  1. The Site may feature or display links and pointers to websites operated by third parties on the Site. Such websites do not form part of the Site and are not under the Publisher's control. The Publisher does not accept any responsibility in connection with any such website. If you link to any such websites, you leave the Site entirely at your own risk. The appearance of those links on this site does not indicate any relationship between the Publisher and that third party or any endorsement by the Publisher of that third party, its site or the products or services which it is advertising on this Site. The Site may include third party content which is subject to that third party's terms and conditions of use. Nothing on the Site should be construed as granting any license or right for you to use that content. You must not link to the Site from any other website (or otherwise authorize any other person to link from a third party website to the Site) without the Publisher's prior written consent.

  2. The Site may feature or display third party advertising. By featuring or displaying such advertising, the Publisher does not in any way represent that the Publisher recommends or endorses the relevant advertiser, its products or services. If you contact a third party using functionality provided on the Site, including via e‑mail, the Publisher does not accept any responsibility for any communications or transactions between you and the relevant third party.

  3. From time to time, the Publisher may promote, advertise, or sponsor functions, events, offers, competitions or other activities that may be conducted offline and may be conducted by third parties. These activities may be subject to separate terms and conditions. You participate in any such activities entirely at your own risk. The Publisher does not accept any responsibility in connection with your participation in activities conducted by any third party.

Liability and Idemnity

  1. To the extent permitted by law, you use the Site at your sole risk. The Publisher does not warrant that the Site will be uninterrupted or error‑free. There may be delays, omissions, interruptions, and inaccuracies in the news, information or other Material available through the Site. To the extent permitted by law the Publisher excludes all warranties, representations, conditions and guarantees, whether express, implied or statutory, including, without limitation, those of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose, with respect to the Site or any Materials or goods that are available or sold through the Site. The Publisher does not exclude any statutory or implied warranty, condition or guarantee that it is prohibited by law to exclude under applicable law of any jurisdiction. The Publisher does not make any representations, nor does the Publisher endorse the accuracy, completeness, timeliness or reliability of any advice, opinion, statement or other material or database supplied, uploaded or distributed on the Site or available through links on the Site. The Publisher reserves the right to correct any errors or omissions on the Site. Although the Publisher intends to take reasonable steps to prevent the introduction of viruses, worms, ‘trojan horses' or other destructive material to the Site, the Publisher does not guarantee or warrant that the Site or Material that may be downloaded from the Site do not contain such destructive features. To the extent permitted by law, the Publisher is not liable for any loss, damage or harm attributable to such features. If you rely on the Site and any Material available through the Site you do so solely at your own risk. The Publisher does not warrant the accuracy of the Material on the Site, and the Material is provided to you “as is” and on an “as available” basis and on the condition that you undertake all responsibility for assessing the accuracy of the Material and rely on it at your own risk. You recognize that the Site may contain various combinations of text, images, audiovisual productions, opinions, statements, facts, articles, market data, stock quotes or other information created by the Publisher or by third parties. Such Material, including market data, is for your reference only and should not be relied upon by you for tax or investment advice and it does not advocate the purchase or sale of any security or investment.

  2. The Publisher does not necessarily hold the opinions expressed by Material contributors. Opinions and other statements expressed by Users and third parties (e.g., bloggers) are theirs alone, not opinions of the Publisher. Material created by third parties is the sole responsibility of the third parties and its accuracy and completeness are not endorsed or guaranteed. You acknowledge that by providing you with the ability to view and distribute Material through the Site, the Publisher is not undertaking any obligation or liability relating to the Material. The Publisher and its affiliates, successors, assigns, employees, agents, directors, officers and shareholders do not undertake or assume any duty to monitor the Site for inappropriate or unlawful content. To the extent permitted by law, the Publisher and its affiliates, successors, assigns, employees, agents, directors, officers and shareholders assume no responsibility or liability which may arise from the Material thereof, including, but not limited to, claims for defamation, libel, slander, infringement, invasion of privacy and publicity rights, obscenity, pornography, profanity, fraud, or misrepresentation. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Publisher reserves the right to block or remove communications, postings or Materials at any time in its sole discretion.

  3. To the extent permitted by law, the Publisher will have no responsibility or liability in relation to any loss or damage that you incur, including damage to your software or hardware, arising from your use of or access to this Site.

  4. The Publisher does not warrant that functions contained in the Site content, such as hyperlinks, will be uninterrupted or error free, that defects will be corrected or that the Publisher or the server that makes it available, are free of viruses or bugs.

  5. The Publisher may be legally compelled to disclose certain Information. You agree that in the event the Publisher receives a subpoena issued by a court or from a law enforcement or government agency, the Publisher shall comply with such subpoenas without your consent or prior notice to you and may disclose your IP address, username, name, IP location or other information in response thereto.

  6. Subject to clause 30, to the extent permitted by law, the Publisher and its affiliates, and their respective members, directors, officers, managers, employees, shareholders, agents and licensors are not liable for incidental, indirect, consequential, special, punitive, or exemplary loss or damages of any kind, including, without limitation, lost revenues or profits, loss of business, opportunity or goodwill, or loss of data, arising in any way in connection with this Site or Material on the Site, the use of (or inability to use) the Site or Material, or the Conditions, whether in contract, tort (including negligence), in equity, under statue or otherwise, including but not limited to any claim, loss or injury based on errors, omissions, interruptions or other inaccuracies in the Site, or as a result of breach of any warranty or other term or condition of the Conditions. To the extent permitted by law and subject to clause 30, the Publisher's liability shall be limited to the amount you paid, if any, for use of the Site.

  7. You will be responsible for any harm the Publisher suffers as a result of your violation of these Terms and Conditions or any breach by you of your representations and warranties. You agree to indemnify and hold harmless the Publisher and its affiliates, and their respective members, directors, officers, managers, employees, shareholders, agents, and licensors, from and against all losses, expenses, damages and costs, including reasonable attorneys' fees, resulting from any violation by you of the Conditions or any breach by you of your representations and warranties thereunder. The Publisher reserves the right to take over the exclusive defense of any claim for which the Publisher is entitled to indemnification under this Section 29. In such event, you shall provide the Publisher with such cooperation as is reasonably requested by the Publisher.

  8. To the extent that the Publisher's liability for breach of any implied or statutory warranty, condition or guarantee, cannot be excluded by law, to the extent permitted by law the Publisher's liability will be limited, at the Publisher's option, to:

    1. in the case of services supplied or offered by the Publisher:

      1. the supply of the services again; or

      2. the payment of the cost of having the services supplied again; and

    2. in the case of goods supplied or offered by the Publisher:

      1. the replacement of the goods or the supply of equivalent goods;

      2. the repair of the goods;

      3. the payment of the cost of having the goods replaced; or

      4. the payment of the cost of having the goods repaired.

  9. If a jurisdiction does not allow the exclusion or limitation of liability in accordance with clause 30 but allows a limitation of a certain maximum extent then liability is limited to that extent.

No reliance, other Users

  1. Except where expressly stated otherwise, Material on the Site is provided as general information only. It is not intended as advice and must not be relied upon as such. You should make your own inquiries and take independent advice tailored to your specific circumstances prior to making any decisions. To the extent permitted by law, the Publisher will not be liable for loss resulting from any action or decision by you in reliance on the Material on the Site.

  2. You acknowledge that the Publisher is not responsible for, and accepts no liability in relation to, any other User's use of, access to or conduct in connection with the Site in any circumstance.

Termination

  1. In the event of termination of your access to the Site you must immediately cease accessing and using the Site and Materials on the Site and (at Publisher's option) return any (hard or electronic) copies of such Materials to the Publisher or destroy any copies within your control or possession. All licences granted by you and all disclaimers, indemnities and exclusion and limitations of liability set out in the Conditions will survive termination.

Severability

  1. If any provision of the Conditions is deemed invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, the invalidity of such provision shall not affect the validity of the remaining provisions of the Conditions, which shall remain in full force and effect.

No waiver

  1. No waiver of any term of the Conditions shall be deemed a further or continuing waiver of such term or any other term. Any failure to assert any right under the Conditions shall not constitute a waiver of such right.

Affirmation regarding age

  1. By using the Site, you affirm that you are 18 years or over or otherwise possess legal parental or guardian consent.

Applicable Law

  1. These Conditions shall be construed in accordance with and governed by the laws of the Isle of Man. You consent to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts in the Isle of Man to determine any matter or dispute which arises under the Conditions.

Definitions

  1. In these terms and conditions:

    1. "Material" means text, illustrations, photos, audio, video, or any combination of these or other content, information, data or material.

Publishing Services International Limited Privacy Policy

1. Privacy

The Publisher recognizes the importance of protecting the privacy of its customers. For the purposes of this Privacy Policy, "customers" includes visitors to the Site, subscribers to and users of the Publisher's services, purchasers of its products and advertising customers. This privacy policy is intended to inform you about the personal information that is collected from you when you visit the Site, and in the other circumstances described under the heading "Collection of personal information" below, how this information may be used and disclosed, how you can control the use and disclosure of your information, how your information is protected, and how you can access that information. The Publisher may, from time to time, review and update this Privacy Policy, including taking account of new or amended laws, new technology and/or changes to its operations. This Privacy Policy applies only in respect of the Site. This Privacy Policy does not apply to information collected through any other website (other than by or on behalf of the Publisher in the circumstances described under the heading "Collection of personal information" below) or to the practices of companies that the Publisher does not control. Please note that the Site may contain links to other websites. For example, if you click on an advertisement on the Site and link to another website, then this Privacy Policy will not apply to any information collected on that website. The Publisher is not responsible for the privacy practices of other websites, and the Publisher recommends that you read the privacy policies of each website that you visit. All personal information held by the Publisher will be governed by the most recently updated Privacy Policy.

2. Collection of personal information

The Publisher collects personal information when the Publisher provides its services to you. When you visit and interact with the Site, certain information may be collected automatically, including:

  • your computer's Internet Protocol (IP) address;
  • your browser type and operating system;
  • the web pages you were visiting immediately before and after you came to the Site;
  • activities within community discussions;
  • web pages and advertisements that you view, and links that you click on, within the Site;
  • your bandwidth speed and information about the software programs that are installed on your computer;
  • aggregated data about email click‑through rates and user video viewing;
  • standard server log information; and
  • information collected through HTML cookies, Flash cookies, web beacons, and similar technologies.

The Publisher usually collects personal information directly from you, although sometimes the Publisher may use agents or service providers to do this for the Publisher. The Publisher may also acquire lists from other sources, both from other companies and from other public documents. This may include advertisers, mailing lists, recruitment agencies, contractors and business partners. The Publisher may also access information about you from third‑party sources and platforms (such as social networking sites, databases, online marketing firms, and ad targeting firms), including:

  • if you access third‑party social networking services (such as Facebook Connect or Twitter) through the Site, your username and connection lists for those services;
  • demographic data, such as age range, gender, and interests;
  • advertisement interaction and viewing data, such as ad click‑through rates and information about how many times you viewed a particular ad; and
  • unique identifiers, including mobile device identification numbers, that can identify the physical location of such devices in accordance with applicable law.

Please note that the Site may combine the information that we collect with information that the Publisher may obtain from third‑party sources. The Publisher may collect your personal information when you request or acquire a product or service from the Publisher, register with the Publisher as a member (including user name and password and contact information such as name, email address, postal address, phone number, and mobile number), provide a product or service to the Publisher, complete a survey or questionnaire, enter a competition or event, contribute in a fundraising event, participate in one of the Publisher's services (including blogs, forums, community discussions and other interactive features), search queries conducted on the Site, or when you communicate with the Publisher by e‑mail, telephone, or in writing.

The Publisher usually collects personal information such as your name, address, telephone number, and in some instances, your financial details, including your credit card information, in addition to the other specific types of information described above. The Publisher also collects information about you that is not personal information. For example, the Publisher may collect data relating to your activity on its websites (including IP addresses) via tracking technologies such as cookies, or the Publisher may collect information from you in response to a survey.

As a general rule the Publisher does not collect sensitive information, however it reserves the right to do so. If the Publisher does, it will usually be for the purposes of providing its goods or services and if the law requires the Publisher to, the Publisher will seek your consent to collect it.

If you do not provide the Publisher with information described above, the Publisher may not be able to its services to you.

If, at any time, you provide personal information about someone other than yourself, you warrant that you have that person's consent to provide such information for the purpose specified.

If you are located outside of the Isle of Man, please note that personal information provided by you or otherwise collected as described above will be transferred to the Isle of Man.

3. Use of personal information

The Publisher uses personal information to provide its services (which may include the display of personalised content and advertising) to you, to fulfil administrative functions associated with these services, for example billing, to enter into contracts with you or third parties and for marketing and client relationship purposes. The Publisher also generally uses personal information to report statistics, analyse trends, diagnose problems and target and improve the quality of its products and services. By accessing the Site, you agree that the Publisher may use your personal information for the purposes and by the means described in this Privacy Policy, and you agree that the Publisher may use your mobile number to send you promotions, notifications, or other services. In order to provide readers with free access to content, the Publisher displays advertisements on the Site, many of which are targeted based on information about you. For example, using information collected through cookies, web beacons, and other sources, the Publisher may use demographic data or information about your online activities or interests to display targeted advertising that may be relevant to your preferences. Through this process, advertisers reach Site visitors who are most interested in their products, and you see advertising for products or services in which you may be interested. Third‑party advertisers and advertising platforms also may serve targeted ads on the Site. Please remember that the information practices of third‑party advertisers or platforms collecting data on our Site are not covered by this privacy policy. The Publisher may also use the information that it collects to prevent illegal activities, to enforce the Site's Terms and Conditions, and to otherwise protect its rights and the rights of its users. In addition to the uses identified above, the Publisher may use the information that it collects for any other purposes disclosed to you at the time it collects your information or pursuant to your consent. Where your personal information is contained within an advertisement which the Publisher publishes for you, the Publisher may also use your information for publication of that same advertisement in other media, in accordance with the terms and conditions of the initial publication. The Publisher may also use your personal information to assist the Publisher in improving its products and services and to let you know about goods, services, or promotions which may interest you.

4. Disclosure to and use by Third Parties

The Publisher values your privacy, and shares information about its users only under certain circumstances. The Publisher may share your information with other companies which are related to the Publisher. The Publisher may disclose your information to its service providers and contractors from time to time to help the Publisher to provide and market its goods and services to you. The Publisher may also share your information with third parties who provide prizes for competitions or reader offers. If the Publisher does this, the Publisher generally requires these parties to protect your information in the same way as the Publisher does.

The Publisher will make information about you available to other companies, applications, or people in the circumstances listed below:

  • The Publisher may share aggregated information or information that does not directly identify you with third parties to help the Publisher develop content, services, and advertising that the Publisher hopes you will find of interest. Please note that the Publisher does not share contact information with third parties that advertise on the Site.
  • The Publisher may employ third parties to perform Site‑related services, including database management, maintenance services, analytics, marketing, data processing, and email and text message distribution. These third parties have access to your information only to perform these tasks on the Publisher's behalf.
  • If you choose to engage in public activities on the site, such as posting comments on community message boards, any information you submit can be read, collected, or used by others. Please exercise caution when deciding to disclose any personal information in public activities or submissions.
  • The Publisher may share information about you in the event that the Site is acquired by or merged with another company or a similar corporate transaction takes place. However, the Site will notify you by placing a prominent notice on the Site or sending a notice to the primary email address specified in your account before your information is transferred and becomes subject to a different privacy policy.
  • The Publisher may share information about you to investigate, prevent, or take action regarding illegal activities, suspected fraud, situations involving potential threats to the physical safety or other rights and interests of any person, violations of the Site's Terms and Conditions, or as otherwise required by law.
  • The Publisher may share information about you to respond to subpoenas, search warrants, judicial proceedings, court orders, legal process, or other law enforcement measures, to establish or exercise our legal rights, or to defend against legal claims.
  • In addition to the scenarios identified above, the Publisher may share information about you for any other purposes disclosed to you at the time the Publisher collects your information or pursuant to your consent.

Please note that third parties may independently collect data about you, including your IP address and information about the websites you visit and the links you click, through cookies, clicks on links, or other means when you visit or view ads on the Site.

To customize your experience on the Site and to simplify the Site's registration process, the Publisher provides you with the opportunity to access or interact with third‑party services, such as Facebook and Twitter. When you connect to the Site through these third‑party services, the Publisher may share information about you with these third‑party service providers and they may share data about you with the Publisher. When you allow the Publisher to access your data through a third‑party service to create a Site profile, the Publisher may use this data for several purposes, including:

  • For example, if you connect to the Site via a service with a public friend list, like Twitter, the Publisher may check to see if any people you follow on Twitter are also Site members. If the Publisher finds a match, the Publisher will replicate your Twitter relationship with those members, setting them to be fans, followers, or friends on the Publisher Site.
  • For example, if you connect via a service that has a private contact list (like Google and Yahoo!), the Publisher checks for people in your contacts who are Site members and suggest that you become a fan of these users.
  • When users share content with their friends, the Publisher may use friend lists from third‑party services to create a list of contacts to whom you may choose to send the email message.
  • For example, the Publisher may use friend lists from a third‑party service to create a list of contacts to whom you may choose to send an invitation to view an interactive slideshow.
  • When you are connected via a third‑party service, the Publisher may access certain account information, such as your profile picture, what stories are popular in your network, and what your friends are saying about certain articles or blog posts, in order to enhance and personalize your experience on the Site.

In addition, if you connect to a Facebook account, your experience on the Site may be personalized. For example, you may automatically see what stories are popular in your network, and what your friends are saying about particular stories. Please note that you may disconnect third party accounts at any time.

Please remember that the Publisher does not control the privacy practices of these third‑party services. The Publisher encourages you to read the privacy policies of all third‑party service providers. You can deactivate your account at any time by visiting the preferences page for your profile. When you deactivate your account, your user profile will be disabled, but your public comments will remain on the site. The Site has no responsibility to take down, remove, or edit any of your public activities or any submissions that are a result of your public activities. If you opt out of these technologies, you will continue to see advertising displayed on the Site, but the advertising may not be targeted to your interests. Please remember that the Publisher does not have access to, or control over, advertisers' or service providers' cookies, and the information practices of third parties are not covered by this privacy policy.

5. Use of Aggregate Data

The Publisher may collect and use certain non‑personal information (e.g., the identity of your Internet browser, the type of operating system you use, your IP address and the domain name of your Internet service provider) to optimise its goods and services (which may include the display of personalised content and advertising) including the Publisher's web pages for your computer. The Publisher may use personally identifiable information in aggregate form to improve its goods and services including its web sites and make them more responsive to the needs of its customers. This statistical compilation and analysis of information may also be used by the Publisher or provided to others as a summary report for marketing, advertising or research purposes.

6. Security

The Publisher strives to ensure the security, integrity and privacy of personal information of its customers. The Publisher may hold your information in either electronic or hard copy form. The Publisher uses a variety of physical and electronic security measures including restricting physical access to its offices and firewalls and secure databases to keep personal information secure from misuse, loss or unauthorized use or disclosure. Unfortunately, no data transmission over the Internet can be guaranteed to be totally secure. The Publisher limits access to contact information about you to employees or service providers who the Publisher believes reasonably need to come into contact with that information to provide products or services to you or in order to do their jobs, and subject to section 4 of this Privacy Policy. The Publisher also has adopted commercially reasonable technical, physical, and administrative procedures to help protect information about you from loss, misuse, and alteration. Personal information is destroyed or de‑identified when no longer needed. Please note that no data transmission or storage can be guaranteed to be 100% secure. The Publisher wants you to feel confident using the Site, but the Publisher cannot ensure or warrant the security of any information you transmit to the Publisher.

7. Access to Personal Information

You have a right to request access to personal information the Publisher holds about you. Where the Publisher holds personal information that you are entitled to access, the Publisher will endeavour to provide you with suitable means of accessing it (e.g. by emailing or mailing it to you). If the Publisher denies access in some circumstances, the Publisher will tell you why. To request access, please contact the Publisher's privacy officer as set out at the end of this document. If you believe that personal information the Publisher holds about you is incorrect, incomplete or inaccurate, then you may request amendment of it. The Publisher will consider if the information requires amendment. If the Publisher does not agree that there are grounds for amendment then the Publisher will add a note to the personal information stating that you disagree with it.

8. Public Information

Any information posted on bulletin boards and/or communicated in chat areas becomes public information. While the Publisher strives to protect and respect your privacy, the Publisher cannot guarantee the security of any information you disclose in a chat room or bulletin board.

9. Cookies

Cookies are data that a Web site transfers to an individual's hard drive for record‑keeping purposes. Cookies can facilitate a user's ongoing access to and use of a site. They allow the Publisher to track usage patterns and to compile data that can help the Publisher improve its content and target advertising. If you do not want information collected through the use of Cookies, there is a simple procedure in most browsers that allows you to deny or accept the Cookie feature. But you should note that Cookies may be necessary to provide you with features such as merchandise transactions or registered services.

10. Online Links to Third Party and Co‑Branded Sites

The Publisher may establish relationships with business partners that allow visitors to the Publisher's web sites to link directly to sites operated by these partners. Some of these sites may be "co‑branded" with the Publisher's logo - however, these sites may not be operated or maintained by or on behalf of the Publisher. These sites may collect personal information from you that may be shared with the Publisher. This Privacy Statement will apply to any personal information the Publisher obtains in this manner. The Publisher is not responsible for the content or practices of web sites operated by third parties that are linked to the Publisher's sites. These links are meant for the user's convenience only. Links to third party sites do not constitute sponsorship, endorsement or approval by the Publisher of the content, policies or practices of those third party sites. Once you have left the Publisher's site via such a link, you should check the applicable privacy policy of the third party site.

11. What else you should know about privacy on the Internet

Remember to close your browser when you have finished your user session. This is to ensure that others cannot access your personal information and correspondence if you share a computer with someone else or are using a computer in a public place like a library or Internet cafe. You as an individual are responsible for the security of and access to your own computer. Whenever you voluntarily disclose personal information over the Internet this information can be collected and used by others. In short, if you post personal information in publicly accessible online forums, you may receive unsolicited messages from other parties in return. Ultimately, you are solely responsible for maintaining the secrecy of your username and passwords and any account information. Please be careful and responsible whenever you are using the Internet. The Publisher does not knowingly collect personal information from children under 13. If the Publisher learns that it has collected any personal information from a child under the age of 13 without verifiable parental consent, the Publisher will delete that information from its database as quickly as possible. If you believe that the Publisher may have collected information from a child under 13, please contact the Publisher at privacy@publishingservicesinternational.im.

12. For further information

Please contact our Privacy Officer to ask for access to your information or if you have a complaint concerning your information privacy or if you would like more information about our approach to privacy at privacy@publishingservicesinternational.im.

13. Changes to the privacy policy

The Publisher reserves the right to update this Privacy Policy at any time to reflect changes in the Publisher's practices and service offerings. The Publisher will use it best endeavours to update the Privacy Policy on the Site, however it does not warrant that it will post these updates immediately.

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