Your mobile phone may be revealing some secrets regarding your physical activity.
The information is passed on to Google and other apps through sensors in your Android phone are capable of picking your movements based on what is happening to your device.
It can tell if you are walking, standing up or even just lifting your phone up.
The Android feature is known as “Activity Recognition” and a number of apps including Shazam and SoundHound request permission to use it – although at this stage it isn’t clear why.
The feature has be around a while but the reaction on Reddit and DuckDuckGo suggests that most users weren’t aware of it.
There’s a new Android permission in town, that shares with apps whether you’re walking, driving, sitting, etc.
It’s called “Activity Recognition” and you can find it in an app’s permissions page, in the “Other” category, but it can’t be disabled. pic.twitter.com/rXJvXDd132
— DuckDuckGo (@duckduckgo) October 26, 2017
“The Activity Recognition API is built on top of the sensors available in a device,” Google says on its website.
“Device sensors provide insights into what users are currently doing. However, with dozens of signals from multiple sensors and slight variations in how people do things, detecting what users are doing is not easy.
“The Activity Recognition API automatically detects activities by periodically reading short bursts of sensor data and processing them using machine learning models.”
Naturally, the information is collected to try and understand more about the user so that ads can be tailored towards their lifestyle as well as mirror their actions to assist the virtual assistant.
Although it could prove to be very useful, it is perhaps another feature that is a little “creepy”. In fact, Google categorises the permission in “Other” meaning that it is well hidden. It is also hard to establish which apps use the permission.