MIAMI (CBSMiami) — MoviePass, the movie ticket subscription service, now admits it’s exploring ways to collect private data on its 2 million-plus users.
The development comes a week after CEO Mitch Lowe was quoted saying, “We watch how you drive from home to the movies. We watch where you go afterwards…We know all about you.”
Privacy advocates aren’t happy.
MoviePass is often described as Netflix for moviegoers and makes money by collecting subscription fees.
The company now says location-based marketing could help it generate more revenue.
During a forum called, “Data is the New Oil: How Will MoviePass Monetize It?”, CEO Mitch lowe reportedly said, “We get an enormous amount of information…You are being tracked in your GPS by the phone.”
Lowe also spoke about the importance of data mining in this interview last week.
“It’s a real big part, and the way we will use it is to help the studios know who wants to watch a particular film,” said Mitch Lowe, MoviePass CEO.
“It’s not a pass. It’s spyware,” said Jamie Court, Consumer Watchdog President.
Court says people can limit how much personal information their mobile phones reveal by changing the settings on their location services.
“We’re signing up for free movies and this just shows there are no free movies,” said Court. “It’s ka-ching, ka-ching! That’s how this company is gonna make money.”
MoviePass is the latest tech company to face a backlash over data collection.
After a public outcry in August, Uber said it would stop tracking riders for up to 5 minutes after their trip ended.
In December, we reported on Google Home and Amazon Echo. Consumer Watchdog warned they could become listening devices – a claim both companies deny.
“It almost feels a little bit like Big Brother-ish,” said Elizabeth Saldebar who owns an Amazon Echo.
“Data is the lifeblood of so much of Silicon Valley,” said Nick Thompson, Wired Editor in Chief.
Thompson, a CBS News contributor, says tech companies collect personal information not only to make money but also to make their services more efficient for customers.
“The problem is that a lot of these companies that are getting our data aren’t — I don’t know — totally clear? Totally honest? Totally open about it? So that’s a big issue,” said Thompson.
The company says that the app works the same as it did yesterday and that consumers will not see a change.