Netflix now not only wants to know if its viewers are “still watching,” but what they’re doing while they binge. The streaming app has reportedly been asking Android users to access the physical activity sensors on the device. Some are even reporting that the permission was already turned on without their consent.
This all may sound quite odd, but Netflix is assuring subscribers that it’s all for a reason, saying:
“We are continually testing ways to give our members a better experience. This was part of a test to see how we can improve video playback quality when a member is on the go. Only some accounts are in the test, and we don’t currently have plans to roll it out.”
That might make sense on paper, but it’s definitely still a little creepy. The company wants to put to use the new activity recognition permission on Androids. This innovative feature allows developers to identify whether or not the user is in motion when their app is open, though customers are supposed to give their consent prior to the collection of this data.
Netflix would likely use the information to come up with a way to cut down on video buffering while a viewer is moving around. At least, that’s what would make the most sense. It’s unknown how many subscribers watch their favorite shows and movies while running around, but it’s probably not many.
Still, the company has said that it doesn’t plan to roll out this feature any time soon. That could, of course, still change any day. For right now though, Android users should only consent to this data collection if they want to and check to see if the app might already be doing so without alerting them.
Those who don’t have this brand of phone currently don’t have to worry, though that could also change if other companies also start implementing the feature. In the meantime though, Netflix subscribers should be sure to catch all of the great content that’s leaving the service this month and be happy that there aren’t any ads forthcoming.