Read the original article by Glen Moret at abc.net.au here.
A website detailing the location and contact details of Australian farms has caused outrage in the industry with farm groups saying it is an invasion of privacy.
Animal rights charity, Aussie Farms, created the map and the group’s executive director Chris Delforce said it had been made live so the public could view the farms themselves.
“This map is about laying everything bare so the consumers can make their own informed choices about what they wish to support with their purchases,” he said.
“It’s saying this is where they are, this is what they’re doing.”
The site has thousands of icons over old and current farms that once clicked, detail information including the location of the businesses and in some cases, the contact details of the farmers.
Farmers’ Federation says site will encourage trespassing
National Farmers’ Federation president Fiona Simson said she was very concerned about the information on the map being viewable by the public.
“This is really, a huge breach of privacy to be publishing these people’s private addresses, their private family homes in conjunction with their businesses online,” she said.
Ms Simson said the only reason she could think of, as to why the website had gone live, was to encourage members of the public to trespass on farms.
“Really you can only think the worst thoughts and that is that they intend to trespass, that they are actually publishing those details to encourage people to trespass onto these farms,” she said.
“That of course raises not only anxiety and stress for farmers but a number of real issues that farmers have to deal with at the same time.”
Mr Delforce said he wanted to, “force transparency on an industry that’s dependent on secrecy. I don’t think they have a right to operate in secrecy,” he said.
“We do encourage people to drive past and snap a few photos from the road.
“We’re certainly not encouraging anyone to break the law to get material.”
Contact details can be removed
Mr Delforce said all details had been added in manually and if farmers did not want their contact details on the site they could be removed.
“We’ve got 50 or so people [who] have been contributing to this map over the last eight years, getting in data from all sorts of different sources,” he said.
“Some of that data may be a bit outdated.”
“Certainly if people start getting abused that’s not what we want and we will take those down.”
“The more general information and photos and that sort of thing from the facilities I won’t be taking down.”
NFF hopes site will be shut down
Ms Simson said she was writing to the federal Attorney-General Christian Porter to see what legal options were available to take action against the site.
“We would hope that it gets shut down,” she said.
Much of the contact information on the map is also available online through using a search engine but Ms Simson said part of her concern was that it was now easily accessible in one place.
“By an animal welfare organisation actually aggregating this data, publishing it online, [it’s] as if these farmers have done something wrong. That’s incredible damaging,” she said.
Biosecurity concerns for farms
Ms Simson said the website also put the future of biosecurity sites in doubt.
“We have some of the highest standards for biosecurity,” she said.
“This is a real risk, if people are coming into these farms, if they are breaking in, if they are trespassing illegally onto these farms and not going through the appropriate safeguards that farmers have for other visitors on a daily basis,” Ms Simson said.
Mr Delforce said the website server had overloaded and crashed on Monday afternoon.