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ICC Anti-Corruption Unit seeks power to monitor social media

Flanagan, CorruptionSir Ronnie Flanagan, Head of the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) has urged the International Cricket Council (ICC) to consider a proposal to force players suspected of match-fixing to hand over their mobile phones.

Flanagan, who expects his proposal to be discussed by the ICC board in 2017, is seeking the power to examine players’ personal devices, including messaging applications such as WhatsApp and Snapchat. The ACU is currently only authorised to demand phone records from players being investigated, and Flanagan has acknowledged that allowing the ICC to download private information would also need to be backed by the player unions.

In addition to this, the ICC is also investigating other ways to detect evidence of match-fixing in cricket, including consulting experts about how to use the deep web (parts of the web not indexed by search engines) and the dark web (parts of the web that require specific software or authorization).

Flanagan told the Guardian: “These corruptors have demonstrated their ingenuity and determination to keep trying to get at players and match officials, and therefore we must be continually active in thwarting their intentions.

“We are constantly exploring how they attempt to communicate with players – including the use of various social media networks, WhatsApp, Snapchat and the dark web – and we have to keep ahead of these things.”

Flanagan, who is a retired senior police officer, also revealed that the ACU was close to signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the UK’s National Crime Agency, which would enable the sharing of information on future suspected fixing cases.

The news comes just a few days after South African cricketer Alviro Petersen was charged with six breaches of Cricket South Africa’s anti-corruption code. It is alleged that Petersen, who denies any wrongdoing, contrived to fix or otherwise improperly influence matches during the 2015 Ram Slam.