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MoviePass scales back location tracking in its app with new update

Published Mar 8th, 2018 10:02PM EST
MoviePass location tracking
Image: Charlie Neibergall/AP/REX/Shutterstock

MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe set off alarm bells at an event in Hollywood last week when he bragged about all of the data that the company collects from its users. He even went as far as to say that MoviePass knows when you drive to the theater and knows where you go once the movie has ended. Unsurprisingly, the way in which Lowe discussed the company’s location-based marketing made some customers uneasy, prompting the need for damage control.

On Wednesday, MoviePass rolled out an update for the iOS app that removes “unused app location capability,” which sounds nice, but is essentially meaningless when none of us know which features were “unused” up until the point the update arrived on the App Store. Best case scenario: MoviePass isn’t tracking users quite as much.

This is the full statement from MoviePass regarding the update and the company’s future plans:

Today, MoviePass released a new app update, including the removal of some unused app location capabilities. While part of our vision includes using location-based marketing to enhance the movie-going experience for our members, we aren’t using some of that functionality today. Our members will always have the option to choose the location-based services that are right for them today and in the future.

In other words, while MoviePass will continue to explore location-based marketing as a means of enhancing the “overall experience” for users, the data that isn’t currently being used by the app will no longer be collected. That’s not to say that it won’t eventually be used in future iterations of the app, but until that time, MoviePass will remove the functionality. At least, that’s what we’re being led to believe by the company’s statement.

It’s also worth noting that the app gives users the option to decide whether it is always allowed to track them, only allowed to track them when the app is being used, or never to track the user at all. If you’re uncomfortable with the app tracking your location, just head to the Settings menu and pick a different setting.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.