08 August 2010

Secret footy star files available to AFL

Victoria Police has struck a deal with the AFL to share any records it has gathered on AFL players, coaches, board members and even staff, including handing over photos and videos.

An AFL club president, civil liberties advocates and the state opposition have all blasted the agreement as unprecedented, insulting invasion of privacy.

Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett said the agreement is utterly disturbing.

"I cannot imagine any circumstance that would justify our police force handing over its files to a sporting body," the former Victorian premier told AAP.

"It is a preposterous suggestion. It beggars belief that the AFL or any of their personnel are entitled to police files for any reason."

He demanded to know how many files have been handed over and if AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou is aware of it.

"I am absolutely gobsmacked by this," Mr Kennett said.

"It's almost unbelievable."

The seven-page document, released to AAP under freedom of information laws, states that police "law enforcement data" can be handed over to the AFL.

"Law enforcement data may take the form of any text, images, audio and video, may be stored on computing devices, in hard copy, or on other storage media, and includes (but is not limited to) data related to individuals, aggregated data, written reports and correspondence, memoranda, police diaries, official notebooks, running sheets and other data repositories," the agreement says.

The memorandum of understanding (MOU) reveals it was designed to share information on a wide range of AFL identities: "Any player, member of the coaching staff, senior executive of the AFL or any employee, servant or agent of the AFL having official duties in relation to AFL matches."

The AFL Players' Association said players are entitled to privacy just like everyone else.

"If information is disclosed openly then clearly we'd have some concerns," union chief executive Matt Finnis told AAP.

"What's important is that there are limitations, protections and protocols put around that agreement and it's only carried out when there's a justifiable reason that pertains to the integrity of the competition."

Both the AFL and Victoria Police would not reveal the specific reasons the agreement was struck but it's believed to be part of efforts to combat match fixing, gambling, drug use and sexual assault.

"Basically, it has to do with any offence where a person can be charged," said AFL spokesman Patrick Keane.

The reasons behind the agreement have also been censored from the MOU under the FOI request.

Robin Davy, manager of the police department's FOI and privacy office, said such details have to be kept secret because disclosing it would impact police investigations.

Victoria Police released a statement describing the agreement as part of its efforts to "generate an open and transparent line of communication" with the league.

"No information would ever be released by Victoria Police which breaches privacy or other legislation," the statement said.

The agreement was signed in September 2009 and covered the off-season.

Police say the agreement expired after four months, but the AFL says it is ongoing.

"Still in place," Mr Keane said.

Liberty Victoria president Michael Pearce SC said both the AFL and the police are resorting to paranoia by peering into the private lives of citizens, let alone during their holidays.

"This is extremely heavy-handed," he told AAP.

"There's serious implications here for workplace issues, whether the police ought to be providing information of this kind to any employer."

Mr Pearce said the MOU is very similar to one struck between the police and the private consortium building Victoria's $3.5 billion desalination plant to share information on protesters.

That agreement is currently under investigation by the state's law reform committee for possible breaches in privacy laws.

State opposition spokesman David Davis said the decision to share police files on AFL figures is creating a "secret state" where "Victoria Police hands over dossiers on citizens including AFL players to private companies".

Mr Keane later said the AFL had never been given any files by Victoria Police.

He also rejected criticisms the agreement jeopardised players' privacy.

"The AFL has never sought nor has been given any police dossiers, photos, files, videos, films or secret reports by the Victoria Police," Mr Keane said in the statement emailed to AAP late Friday.

"The AFL is subject to the same privacy laws as any other organisation and we abide by them and AFL players, participants and officials receive the same protections under privacy laws as any other person in this state.

"The MOU was the formalisation of a long-standing commitment by the AFL to co-operate with any police inquiry and established a single point of contact both within the Victoria Police and the AFL as the central people to contact should there be any serious criminal matter involving an AFL player or official."

6 Aug 2010

This is an indication of how classified government information is making its way into corporations hands.

It is a CLEAR example of the practices of the New World Order, to the detriment of society.

There is NO need for private organisations to hold police information.

The so-called laws protecting the citizens information are a farce.

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