There's a new Android permission in town, that shares with apps whether you're walking, driving, sitting, etc.— DuckDuckGo (@duckduckgo) October 26, 2017
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
You'll see the permission requested if you visit the Shazam app on the Play Store with your phone and look at the listed app permissions (not during an installation) but you won't see it from the desktop. While we're not sure why this permission is being requested now, or at least why it is now listed, the thing it's asking permission to do isn't new.
Turns out it's part of Google Play Services and from the connectionless ActivityRecognitionClient API. It's something a developer can use to detect movement and help decide whether a user is sitting, walking or on a bus or any other kind of motion and is a direct replacement of the older ActivityRecognition API that was also part of Play Services. The On-Body Detection method from Smart Lock uses it.
And don't bother trying — you can't disable or deny the permission. You can disable Google Play Services as a whole, but not an individual API from the package. Which is part of the reason we're wondering why we see it listed the way it is. Or why it wasn't listed before.
We've sent a message to the right people to see what anyone has to say on the whole thing and we'll update when we hear back. In the meantime, don't freak out too much about this. Shazam isn't tracking your every move — at least no more so than any other app that uses your GPS location.
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