By David Lague

HONG KONG (Reuters) - If the People's Liberation Army went to war tomorrow, it would field an arsenal bristling with hardware from some of America's closest allies: Germany, France and Britain.

Most of China's advanced surface warships are powered by German and French-designed diesel engines. Chinese destroyers have French sonar, anti-submarine-warfare helicopters and surface-to-air missiles.

Above the battlefield, British jet engines drive PLA fighter bombers and anti-ship strike aircraft. The latest Chinese surveillance aircraft are fitted with British airborne early warning radars. Some of China's best attack and transport helicopters rely on designs from Eurocopter, a subsidiary of pan-European aerospace and defense giant EADS.

But perhaps the most strategic item obtained by China on its European shopping spree is below the waterline: the German-engineered diesels inside its submarines.

Emulating the rising powers of last century - Germany, Japan and the Soviet Union - China is building a powerful submarine fleet, including domestically built Song and Yuan-class boats. The beating hearts of these subs are state-of-the-art diesel engines designed by MTU Friedrichshafen GmbH of Friedrichshafen, Germany. Alongside 12 advanced Kilo-class submarines imported from Russia, these 21 German-powered boats are the workhorses of China's modern conventional submarine force.

With Beijing flexing its muscles around disputed territory in the East China Sea and South China Sea, China's diesel-electric submarines are potentially the PLA's most serious threat to its American and Japanese rivals. This deadly capability has been built around robust and reliable engine technology from Germany, a core member of the U. S.-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Arms trade data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) to the end of 2012 shows that 56 MTU-designed diesels for submarines have been supplied to the Chinese navy.

"They are the world's leading submarine diesel engines," says veteran engineer Hans Ohff, former managing director of the Australian Submarine Corporation, the company that built Australia's Collins-class conventional submarines.

MTU declined to answer questions about transfers to the Chinese navy, future deliveries or whether it supplies technical support or servicing. "All MTU exports strictly follow German export laws," a company spokesman said.

CHINA'S MILITARY MARKET

The Chinese defense ministry says the PLA's dependence on foreign arms technology is overstated. "According to international practice, China is also engaged in communication and cooperation with some countries in the area of weaponry development," the ministry said in a statement responding to this series. "Some people have politicized China's normal commercial cooperation with foreign countries, smearing our reputation."

Transfers of European technology to the Chinese military are documented in SIPRI data, official EU arms trade figures and technical specifications reported in Chinese military publications.

These transfers are crucial for the PLA as it builds the firepower to enforce Beijing's claims over disputed maritime territory and challenge the naval dominance of the U. S. and its allies in Asia.

China now has the world's second-largest defense budget after the United States and the fastest growing military market. Many of Europe's biggest defense contractors have been unable to resist its allure. High-performance diesels from MTU and French engine maker Pielstick also drive many of China's most advanced surface warships and support vessels, SIPRI data shows. Pielstick was jointly owned by MTU and German multinational Man Diesel & Turbo until 2006, when Man took full control.

Some military analysts remain skeptical about the quality of China's military hardware. They say the engines and technology the PLA is incorporating from Europe and Russia fall short of the latest equipment in service with the United States and its allies in Asia, including Japan, South Korea and Australia. This leaves the PLA a generation behind and struggling to integrate gear from a range of different suppliers, they say.

Others counter that China doesn't need to match all of the most complex weapons fielded by the United States and its allies. Even if it deploys less than the best gear, Beijing can achieve its strategic goal of blunting U. S. power.

"At what point do they become good enough?" says Kevin Pollpeter, a specialist on Chinese military innovation at the

University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation at San Diego. "If they have sufficient quantities of good-enough weapons systems, maybe that will carry the day."

LIMITS OF EMBARGO

Russia remains China's most important outside source of arms and technical assistance. The Chinese navy's best-known vessel -

its sole aircraft carrier, the Liaoning - was purchased from Ukraine. A U. S. Navy vessel nearly collided with a Chinese warship last week while maneuvering near the Liaoning, during a time of heightened tensions over Beijing's recent declaration of a new air-defense zone in the East China Sea.

European hardware and know-how fills critical gaps, however. It wasn't supposed to play out this way.

The European Union has had an official embargo on arms shipments to China since the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown. Washington imposes even tighter restrictions on transfers of U. S. military technology to China, inspiring energetic efforts by Beijing to smuggle American gear and know-how. Europe's embargo, however, has been far more loosely interpreted and enforced. Thus weapons and, perhaps more importantly for the PLA, dual-use technology have steadily flowed from America's European allies to China.

EU arms makers have been granted licenses to export weapons worth almost 3 billion euros ($4.1 billion) to China in the 10 years to 2011, according to official figures from Brussels collated by the London-based Campaign Against Arms Trade. EU governments approved the sale of aircraft, warships, imaging equipment, tanks, chemical agents and ammunition, according to official figures.

Michael Mann, an EU spokesman in Brussels, said the EU arms embargo issued in June 1989 "does not refer to dual use goods." It is up to individual member states to exercise control over such goods, Mann said.

From China's perspective, France and the UK interpret the arms embargo most generously, mostly blocking only lethal items or complete weapons systems. France was by far the biggest EU supplier, accounting for almost 2 billion euros of these licenses. The United Kingdom ranked second with almost 600 million euros, followed by Italy with 161 million euros. The value of weapons actually shipped is difficult to extract from the data because some countries, including the UK and Germany, don't report these figures.

The value of German export licenses for weapons was a relatively modest 32 million euros in the decade to 2011. However, EU arms trade figures don't include dual-use technology that in many cases can be sold without licenses. Examples of such technology include many kinds of diesel engines. The same applies to transfers of commercial aerospace design software that can be used for fighters, bombers and unmanned aerial vehicles.

Arms industry experts say dual-use transfers are almost certainly more valuable to the PLA than the actual weapons Europe has delivered. But it's impossible to calculate a hard number for European-Chinese trade: The EU lacks a consistent system for tracking these transfers amid the vast flow of goods, services and intellectual property to China. Europe shipped goods worth 143.9 billion euros to China in 2012, according to EU trade statistics.

Critics of the EU's arms trade with China say member states have failed to devise a system to enforce the embargo. They say this reflects the loose structure of the EU, where each member state interprets the restrictions differently according to domestic law, regulations and trade policies.

Geography plays a role, too: The distance between Europe and Asia means there is ambivalence about the rapid growth of Chinese military power. From Europe, China looks like an opportunity, not a threat.

SELLING COMPONENTS

The embargo is nevertheless an embarrassment for Beijing; senior Chinese officials routinely call for it to be lifted, and pressure from Washington keeps it in place. That means the sale of complete weapons like the pan-European Eurofighter, German submarines or Spanish aircraft carriers remain impossible for the foreseeable future.

In the meantime, Europe has discovered a lucrative trade selling components, particularly if they incorporate dual-use technologies that fall outside the embargo.

"Nobody sells entire weapons systems," says Otfried Nassauer, director of the Berlin Information Centre for Transatlantic Security and an expert on Germany's arms trade. "But components, especially pricey high tech components, that works OK."

Under Beijing's long-term policies to promote innovation, domestic arms makers are encouraged to import the foreign technology that China lacks. The challenge is to adapt this range of components and know-how into locally built weapons.

One example is how German engine makers have contributed technology to support China's expanding fleet of support vessels that monitor satellites and missiles.

Man Diesel & Turbo last year announced it would supply engines built under license in China for two new transport vessels for the China Satellite Maritime Tracking and Controlling Department, part of the PLA's General Armament Department (GAD). The GAD oversees weapons research and development and manages all of China's military and civilian space operations, including the tracking of satellites and missiles. The European engine maker will also supply gear boxes, propellers and propulsion control systems for the ships from its Danish manufacturing unit, it said.

A spokesman for Man Diesel & Turbo said about 250 of its engines had been made under license in China and supplied to the Chinese navy. The company also provided some selected services and spare parts including fuel equipment.

"All our business does fully comply with the applicable export control or embargo regulations set by Germany and the European Union," the spokesman said. He added that Pielstick brand engines supplied to the PLA navy by Chinese licensees were not subject to export approval. "None of these engines is specifically designed for military purposes," he said. "There is a broad variety of civil applications for these engines, too."

UNDERWATER DISASTER

Reliable submarine engines top Beijing's shopping list, and China's navy has good reason to want the best.

In the late spring of 2003, a disabled Chinese submarine was found drifting, partly submerged, in the Bohai Sea off China's northern coast. When the boat was raised, rescuers found all 70 of its crew dead. Their deaths were blamed on "mechanical difficulties," according to reports at the time in China's state-controlled media. The outcome of any inquiry was never made public.

Since then, submariners all over the world have speculated about what went wrong aboard Ming class submarine number 361, a Chinese copy of an obsolete Russian design. Most agree it was probably a fault with its diesels. The engines either didn't shut down immediately when the submarine submerged, sucking the oxygen out of the hull in minutes, or the suffocating exhaust vented internally rather than outside the hull. Either way, the outcome was catastrophic.

It was one of Communist China's worst peacetime military disasters, and the navy chief and three other senior officers were sacked. But the People's Liberation Army navy was already taking delivery of diesels from MTU. Engineers at the Wuchang Shipyard on the Yangtze River were fitting these power plants in China's first indigenously designed and built conventional submarines, the Song class.

MTU is a unit of Germany's Tognum Group, which is jointly owned by UK-based multinational Rolls Royce Group PLC and Germany's Daimler AG. Contracts with the PLA and powerful defense manufacturers give MTU and its parent influence in competing for contracts in China's massive civilian market. China's biggest arms maker, China North Industries Group Corporation, or Norinco, has been making MTU engines under license since 1986.

In 2010, Tognum opened a joint venture with Norinco to assemble large, high speed MTU diesel engines and emergency generators at a plant in the city of Datong in Shanxi Province. A major goal of the joint venture is to win orders for emergency backup generators for China's expanding roster of nuclear power plants, Tognum said in a press statement. MTU engines are also built under license at the Shaanxi Diesel Engine Heavy Industry Co Ltd, a subsidiary of one of China's two sprawling military and commercial shipbuilders.

Submarine diesel technology is hardly new, but these engines are built to exacting standards to ensure reliability under extreme conditions. MTU has been building them for more than 50 years. The engine delivered to China for the Song and Yuan classes, the MTU 396 SE84 series, is one of the world's most widely used submarine power plants. Each of the Chinese submarines has three MTU diesels, according to technical specifications listed in Chinese military affairs journals and websites.

China's military is reluctant to acknowledge the role of foreign technology in its latest weapons, preferring to recognize the performance of its domestic designers and arms makers. But articles in maritime magazines and naval websites have credited the close relationship between MTU and China's domestic industry for providing the Song class with "the world's most advanced submarine power system."

In its promotional brochures, MTU says almost 250 of these engines in service with submarines around the world have each racked up over 310,000 hours in operation. Some have also been fitted to nuclear submarines as back-up power plants, the company says. MTU also sells different versions of the 396 series for use in locomotives, power generation and mining.

A spokesman for the Federal Office for Economics and Export Control (BAFA), the German authority that has to approve dual-use exports, said exports of diesel engines built especially for military use would be illegal. Engines that can be used for both civilian and military purposes would have to be approved by BAFA, he said - and in the case of China, such dual-use engines "would probably not be approvable." He declined to comment specifically, however, about the MTU diesel engine sales to China's navy.

STEALTHY SUBMARINES

Top quality diesel engines like the MTU designs minimize vibration and noise, reducing the risk of detection by enemy sonar. In the hands of a capable crew, modern diesel submarines can be fiendishly difficult to detect. When using their electric motors, they are significantly stealthier than nuclear submarines such as those in service with the United States, naval warfare experts say. For a relatively modest investment, a diesel electric sub could sink a hugely expensive aircraft carrier or surface warship.

With whisper-quiet engines, China's best conventional submarines armed with modern torpedoes and missiles may pose the biggest danger to any potential adversary - including the U. S. Navy. Beijing's naval strategists are banking on their growing fleet of subs to keep the Americans and their allies far away from strategic flashpoints in the event of conflict, such as Taiwan or disputed territories in the East China Sea and South China Sea.

That means the Pentagon's favored method of modern warfare - parking carriers near the coast of an enemy and conducting massive air strikes - would be very risky in any clash with China.

The PLA navy has already demonstrated this capability. In 2006, a Song class submarine shocked the U. S. Navy when it surfaced about five miles from the U. S. aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk, well within torpedo range, in waters off the Japanese island of Okinawa. The Chinese boat had been undetected while it was apparently shadowing the U. S. carrier and its escorts, U. S. officials later confirmed.

PLA submarines are becoming much more active. Recorded Chinese submarine patrols increased steadily from four in 2001 to 18 in 2011, according to U. S. Naval Intelligence data supplied in response to freedom of information requests from a Federation of American Scientists researcher, Hans M. Kristensen.

A senior U. S. Navy official declined to comment on German delivery of diesel engines to China, but said the United States is well aware of the challenges such submarines pose. "Diesel engines are notoriously difficult to detect, but we are also always investing in improving own capabilities to make our submarines quieter," the official said.

(Additional reporting by John Shiffman in Washington and Sabine Siebold in Berlin. Edited by Bill Tarrant and Michael Williams)

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  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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