An Android-based smartphone can reveal a user’s physical activities to Google
and other apps installed on the phone, according to the Independent
The activity information is monitored, processed and disclosed by hosts of sensors
inside the mobile device. This information is then accessed by ‘Activity Recognition’ permission incorporated in Android
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 Activity Recognition
permission gets information from location sensor, gyroscope, proximity and other sensors
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 Activity Recognition
API automatically detects activities by periodically reading short bursts of sensor data and processing them using machine learning models,” the report added.
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 report further added.
The Activity Recognition
processes the information collected from sensors
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 Activity Recognition
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 Activity Recognition
permissions can be disabled if you do not want that particular app to know your activity details.