Google ignores farmers’ complaints, fears over activist map

GOOGLE has failed to crack down on an animal activist group that ­posted the addresses of thousands of farms, despite complaints property owners now live in fear of intruders.

The Daily Telegraph can reveal the web giant has not contacted activist group Aussie Farms in the two months since the upload of an interactive map which encourages other activists to post photographs and footage taken at farms.

The National Farmers Federation is furious that nothing has been done, despite its claims the website breaches Google's terms of service about using maps to promote harm.

National Farmers' Federation chief executive Tony Mahar.
National Farmers' Federation chief executive Tony Mahar.

 

Aussie Farms executive director Chris Delforce.
Aussie Farms executive director Chris Delforce.

The government yesterday announced tech giants including Google would face fines of hundreds of millions of dollars for breaching privacy laws. It comes as political pressure grows on social media firms to take more responsibility for content posted on their sites.

NFF chief executive Tony Mahar said it was troubling that farmers' requests to have their details removed from the map had not been acted on.

Mr Mahar said neither Google nor Facebook had responded to a letter expressing concerns about Aussie Farms' use of these platforms.

Farmers are living in fear of intruders who have been posting images of livestock and addresses online.
Farmers are living in fear of intruders who have been posting images of livestock and addresses online.

"Since Aussie Farms published a map including the addresses­ of more than 3000 farms and agriculture-related businesses, there has been an increase in intrusive activity by so-called activists," he said.

"We're dealing with a totally unacceptable pattern of behaviour by this reckless group who have no regard at all for … the right of farmers and their families­ to privacy and the freedom to operate their businesses­. These premises are not just farm businesses but family homes, where in most cases children reside."

The government has announced tech giants will face fines for breaching privacy laws.
The government has announced tech giants will face fines for breaching privacy laws.

Aussie Farms executive director­ Chris Delforce said the group had not received any communication from Google. "Our understanding is that it does not breach the terms of service and that Google are not generally in support of animal cruelty or censorship of information that consumers have a right to access," he said.

A Google spokeswoman would not discuss individual cases but said the company takes abuse and misuse of its products seriously. "When potential­ infringement is reported to us, we evaluate the claim and take action in line with our findings," she said.

 

An aerial image of a farm, taken from the Aussie Farm map website.
An aerial image of a farm, taken from the Aussie Farm map website.


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