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Now MoviePass' CEO says the app never tracked customers

In an interview with Variety, Mitch Lowe said he "misspoke" at a conference.
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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. 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." Now, the way Lowe describes the app matches its privacy policy, and the way its technology is explained in the company's patent that he referenced during his original statement.

So, all good? Maybe, maybe not. While the service's iOS app has been updated to remove an "unused" permission to access location all the time, the title of Lowe's infamous presentation was "Data is the New Oil: How Will MoviePass Monetize It?" Even if it's not tracking user's location over an extended period of time yet, that's certainly a possibility for the future, not to mention what's possible when you combine that data with information from other clearinghouses. Remember, for many of the companies providing free or low-cost services, data greed is good.

Update: Lowe also posted a letter to MoviePass customers on the company's website, apologizing for the confusion and explaining the situation, along with an updated privacy FAQ specifically addressing everything. We have a segment of the letter here.

The MoviePass app currently uses standard location services capabilities on an opt-in basis. There are only two events that would prompt MoviePass to identify a member's location. These include when a member requests to search for theaters nearby and when a member requests to check into a theater. Both events require both the app to be open and for the member to request the action.

MoviePass does not track and has never tracked or collected data on the location of our members at any point when the app is not active. In our recent update with Apple, we removed the the background tracking capabilities. MoviePass does not use and has never used this feature.

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