Data compiled by internet giant Google has revealed how Wagga's travel patterns and habits changed during the last year's COVID-19 lockdowns.
According to Google's Community Mobility Report, at the end of March and into the beginning of April, there were sharp peaks and troughs in Wagga residents' activities.
Compared to other council areas in the state, Wagga spent far less time at parks during the lockdown.
Meanwhile, time spent at supermarkets and pharmacies in Wagga was about 16 per cent higher than the baseline.
The work-from-home trend did not hit Wagga as hard either, with the city recording 9 per cent more activity in workplaces than in most other recorded areas.
While the data presents a specific portrait of Wagga and how residents spent their time across locations last year, the fact that Google has been able to track movement to build such a detailed image has raised concerns.
The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) released a survey to coincide with Google's mobility report, outlining the nation's chief concerns around privacy.
The Australian Community Attitudes to Privacy Survey 2020 found 62 per cent of people are concerned about what can be tracked and when.
"Australians are particularly uncomfortable with businesses tracking their location through their mobile or web browser and keeping databases of information on what they have said and done online," a spokesperson for the OAIC said.
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In light of the concerns, the OAIC recommends checking default settings in commonly used apps.
"Think about whether the app needs location data or permissions to be turned on to work," the spokesperson said.
"Devices and apps may track your location by default unless you adjust your settings. Think about whether the app needs this data."
Understanding the origin of the app in question, and its function on your phone can also help to tailor the effectiveness of its tracking.
"Read the app's privacy notice. The privacy notice should explain why the app collects location data and how it is used, including whether it is shared with any third parties," the spokesperson said.
"Reconsider whether you need the app. If it's not clear who you're dealing with and what information they are collecting about you and why then reconsider whether you need the app."
Additionally, the OAIC recommends phone users make a conscious decision to protect their personal information online.
"Update your privacy settings. Adjust your browser's privacy settings to restrict access to your behavioural data. While adjusting your settings, consider limiting location tracking for your phone and apps to protect your privacy on the go," the spokesperson said.
"Share online with privacy in mind. Draw boundaries between what you share publicly and with those you trust, and take a moment to review your privacy settings across your browsers, social media platforms, and smartphone."
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