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Alert! Your Android phone shares activity info with Google, apps: Report

The Activity Recognition API automatically detects activities by periodically reading short bursts of sensor data and processing them using machine learning models

BS Web Team  |  New Delhi 

Google

An Android-based smartphone can reveal a user’s physical activities to and other apps installed on the phone, according to the Independent.

The activity information is monitored, processed and disclosed by hosts of inside the mobile device. This information is then accessed by ‘Activity Recognition’ permission incorporated in devices that in a fraction of seconds concludes the type of activity, the report said.

For example, if you are walking from the metro station to office, the permission gets information from location sensor, gyroscope, proximity and other to locate your real-time location and understand the kind of activity i.e. walk, and based on the computations it reveals the estimated time to the user on their screen.

“The API is built on top of the available in a device,” the Independent quoted as saying.

“The API automatically detects activities by periodically reading short bursts of sensor data and processing them using machine learning models,” the report added.

“Device provide insights into what users are currently doing. However, with dozens of signals from multiple and slight variations in how people do things, detecting what users are doing is not easy,” the report further added.

The processes the information collected from to understand activity. For each activity, the API automatically rates the likelihood out of 100 and higher the number, the better is the chance that you are actually doing that activity.

This information is then shared with phone apps. The permission is usually found hidden under ‘Other’ permissions and, therefore, goes unnoticed by users.

There is no way to disable the API but permissions can be accessed for each app by going to the app setting. Any app using the permissions can be disabled if you do not want that particular app to know your activity details.

First Published: Tue, October 31 2017. 11:08 IST
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