MoviePass CEO backtracks on location tracking statements

Doris Richards
March 14, 2018

A week after MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe's comments that "we watch how you drive home" came to light, the exec is walking back those words. I need to correct what I said.

Lowe also added that if MoviePass desires to expand data collection and sharing capabilities in the future, the company will notify users about this change and allow them to opt-in or opt-out of the service. At MoviePass, we take customer privacy extremely seriously.

After being independent for six years but struggling to increase its number of subscribers, MoviePass sold to Helios and Matheson Analytics, a data analytics company. In an interview with Variety, Lowe said "I said something completely inaccurate as far as what we are doing.We only locate customers when they use the app". The subscription service states that it treats members' data with "utmost sensitivity" and that users will always have the option to choose which location-based services are suitable for them. This feature did exist within the app, but Lowe said MoviePass removed it in the latest update and that the company never used this feature despite developing it in the first place. Lowe now says that update was made in consultation with Apple and relates to how iOS handles Global Positioning System privacy. According to Lowe, only two events would prompt MoviePass to know a user's location: when a member searches for a nearby movie theater, and when they check into a theater.

After Lowe's comments during the panel discussion were made public, MoviePass issued a statement to this news organization echoing Lowe's point.

Our goal at MoviePass has always been to encourage people to see more movies as they were meant to be seen - in the theater. We watch where you go afterwards, and so we know the movies you watch. We will not be selling the data that we gather.

He confirmed that the app only checks the location of the customers when checking for the nearest participating theatre, and when they check in to the theatre, so the app can verify their credit card.

This comment did not go unnoticed as this tracking feature was not outlined in the company's privacy policy. The company has more than 2 million subscribers, and Lowe said he expected to hit 5 million subscribers and account for almost 20 percent of all USA box office ticket purchases by the end of the year.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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