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Movies Privacy Software

MoviePass CEO Proudly Says App Tracks Your Location Before, After Movies (techcrunch.com) 166

MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe told an audience at a Hollywood event last Friday that the app tracks moviegoers' locations before and after each show they watch. "We get an enormous amount of information," Lowe said. "We watch how you drive from home to the movies. We watch where you go afterwards." His talk at the Entertainment Finance Forum was entitled "Data is the New Oil: How will MoviePass Monetize It?" TechCrunch reports: It's no secret that MoviePass is planning on making hay out of the data collected through its service. But what I imagined, and what I think most people imagined, was that it would be interesting next-generation data about ticket sales, movie browsing, A/B testing on promotions in the app and so on. I didn't imagine that the app would be tracking your location before you even left your home, and then follow you while you drive back or head out for a drink afterwards. Did you? It sure isn't in the company's privacy policy, which in relation to location tracking discloses only a "single request" when selecting a theater, which will "only be used as a means to develop, improve, and personalize the service." Which part of development requires them to track you before and after you see the movie? A MoviePass representative said in a statement to TechCrunch: "We are exploring utilizing location-based marketing as a way to help enhance the overall experience by creating more opportunities for our subscribers to enjoy all the various elements of a good movie night. We will not be selling the data that we gather. Rather, we will use it to better inform how to market potential customer benefits including discounts on transportation, coupons for nearby restaurants, and other similar opportunities."
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MoviePass CEO Proudly Says App Tracks Your Location Before, After Movies

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  • While, I wish they would have disclosed the practice, I'm not even mad...

    • by gnick ( 1211984 )

      I'm not even mad...

      I'm not happy, but I'm not mad enough to stop using the app. I got a year's subscription as a Christmas present and have really been enjoying it. I've seen more than twice as many movies this year as I did in 2017. I'm curious how they plan to monetize this. They say they're not going to sell the data and the app currently doesn't include ads, but I assume this means ads are coming. I did RTFA, but it's light on details on MoviePass's intentions. Helping its users "create a whole movie night" sure sounds li

      • What they do is tell the restaurants that after seeing Black Panther you went and visited the local McDonalds. They then suggest to the restaurant that they might want to offer a coupon to their restaurant to keep people from going to McDonalds after the movie. Of course they are selling the data. So is everyone else. The fact that you are still using the app after knowing this, just shows how hopelessly stupid people are. They didn't even disclose it in the privacy policy. But you still aren't mad, so I gu
        • Well, they're not selling the data in this suggestion. They can tell restaurants that people go to restaurants after movies, as a general trend, and that they should try to attract such customers with coupons in the app. They do the analytics and reach a conclusion, and can show impact without demographics: your area has at X times Y thousands of customers potentially coming to your restaurant.

          When they get to selling demographics data, they're selling data. Everything beyond that also counts, obviou

          • Uh, what makes you think they are not selling the data? Because the CEO said so? They could be selling the raw data, aggregated data, anonymized data, analytics, or any combination. How would you know? You guys are truly naive. No wonder we are in the situation we are now.
            • by gnick ( 1211984 )

              You guys are truly naive. No wonder we are in the situation we are now.

              If you're that distressed by MoviePass knowing your habits around movie-going, maybe MoviePass isn't for you. I'm willing to disclose that I went to the movie from work and then went home in exchange for a $2 ticket. For you, apparently protecting that information is more important than cheap movies. That's fine. Why does it distress you that others of us are willing to make that trade?

              • Because you are too stupid to realize that Google, Apple, Microsoft, insert random company here, is doing it too. But you don't care, because you are a good little consumer. Since people like you won't get mad, nothing will change. Stupidity at a massive level affects the rest of us.
                • by gnick ( 1211984 )

                  ...you are too stupid to realize that Google, Apple, Microsoft, insert random company here, is doing it too. But you don't care...

                  Not "don't care" entirely, but willing to make the trade. I'm a FB user too. Having a handy platform for discussions with family and friends is valuable enough to me to volunteer some information. (FB is going to track you whether you're a user or not - I'm just making it one step simpler in exchange for utility.)

                  You seem very distressed by decisions that don't affect you. If somebody says, "I'll give you a cookie, but only if you tell me your favorite lunch spot," I may or may not go for the cookie. He co

                  • by Joviex ( 976416 )

                    Not "don't care" entirely, but willing to make the trade. I'm a FB user too

                    Good for you, and meaningless. Your anecdotal story is as useful as his.

                    You seem very distressed by decisions that don't affect you.

                    And you seem distressed by other people's opinions.

                    You also seem pretty ignorant about how society works.

                    Someone makes something new, people use or dont use, like or dont like. Over time, society decides if it is good or not, and where to put the levels of "use".

                    Just because we haven't made a law for it yet, doesn't mean that because you agree with it, its an OK practice to do.

                    That is an ignorant argument, and frankly, a giant straw

                    • by gnick ( 1211984 )

                      Just because we haven't made a law for it yet, doesn't mean that because you agree with it, its an OK practice to do.

                      If there's no law against it and "OK" means "legal", then it means exactly that. If "OK" means "Joviex-approved", we'll have to ask you.

                      Also, "lambasted"? I thought I was pretty civil. The other guy resorted to name-calling a couple of times, but that's what you do when you have no valid argument.

                    • by Joviex ( 976416 )
                      I can see reading comprehension is a failure of yours.

                      If there's no law against it and "OK" means "legal", then it means exactly that

                      No, it doesnt.

                      The law moves slower than society. Keep being an obtuse dick though.

                      And words have only the power you give them. Sounds like you are butt hurt being called a moron, obtuse and a dipstick.
                      Congrats, snowflake.

                    • by gnick ( 1211984 )

                      If there's no law against it and "OK" means "legal", then it means exactly that

                      No, it doesnt.

                      Yeah, it really does. Just about anything that doesn't have a law prohibiting it is legal. If "OK"=="legal", then anything not prohibited by law is "OK". I think you're getting this definition of "OK" confused with "Joviex-approved".

                      Keep being an obtuse dick though...moron, obtuse and a dipstick...snowflake.

                      Thank you for demonstrating my assertion that people resort to name-calling when they have no valid argument.

                    • If "OK"=="legal",

                      That is where you went wrong.

                      (if (false) then false) == true

            • You defined the terms of the behavior. That behavior isn't selling data.

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Tuesday March 06, 2018 @03:07AM (#56214911) Journal

    At my age, my location before and after a movie is the urinal in the men's room. No tracking needed. Those extra large Dr Pepper's go right through you.

  • At my age, my location before and after a movie is the urinal in the men's room. No tracking needed. Those extra large Dr Peppers go right through you.

  • I'm in texas and their web site doesn't work in firefox or chrome.
    On the page with city and state they say something about will be 'autofilled' and the red "next page" button is greyedout.

    And their phone android app doesn't work either on my phone.
    First, they want me to start at 2018 and go back a month at a time, to my birthdate in the 1960s (no drop down- no way to simply type in a date).
    Second- the red button to advance to the next page is greyed out... again.

    Ridiculous.

    • I see a lot of that sort of thing, here and there, on the web. I shrug, smile and think "Someone is going to lose their avocado toast privileges."

  • So if I use an old cellphone for the app, using wifi to connect, they'll decide I am a very sedentary person who only goes to the movies, turns the phone off to not disturb others, and then turns it on at home and stays there until the next movie. Unless they require a device with active an active plan here's a good use fo tehat old cell phone rotting in a drawer.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      There are loads of location spoofing apps on Google Play. It's a standard feature of Android that developers often use for testing.

      I just wish there was a way to spoof it only for certain apps, so you could poison their advertising data.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 06, 2018 @04:26AM (#56215121)

    Make it interesting.

    * Appear to be traveling 200 MPH after a Fast & Furious movie - only to come to an abrupt stop and cease communicating
    * Teleport around the globe every time the transporter is used in a Star Trek movie.
    * Spend 10 minutes at every massage parlor in town before AND after a movie.
    * Make it appear that you drove several hundred miles and passed up many other theaters showing the same movie to get to the one where you watched it. Go home the same way.
    * Make it appear you broke out of prison to see a movie and then returned back to your cell - bonus points if you follow sewer lines in and out of the prison.

    Just whatever - use your imagination.

    • by tsa ( 15680 )

      That last one is brilliant! :D

    • by inking ( 2869053 )
      Unrealistic. Convicts don’t have smartphones in their cells.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        If a convict is able to nip out of his cell to see a movie whenever he feels like it and sneak back in without being caught, then what's unrealistic about him also being able carry a cellphone despite prison rules?

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        hahhaha idiot, are you serious?

        http://www.wsmv.com/story/22080698/inmates-party-display-drugs-and-cash-in-facebook-posts-and-video

        how else do guards make decent money ? who wants to work in that shit.

      • Unrealistic. Convicts don’t have smartphones in their cells.

        What you mean is they aren't supposed to...

      • That the user went back to their cell is inferred. Obviously the GPS trail stops in the sewer beneath the cell, in that little room (and tunnel nexus) beneath the bunks where Hogan and his people store the radio, boxes of weapons, etc.
    • I'd love to spoof my data and seed more bad data. How do I do that?
      • by sl3xd ( 111641 )

        Why fake it?

        Figuring out how to do some of them could be a damn fun hobby... Model rocket launched horizontally, then have a parachute slow it down?

        Honestly, though, Pokemon Go probably has that angle covered far better than MoviePass ever could.

        Everybody knows about Pokemon Go. I've never heard of MoviePass.

    • Just whatever - use your imagination.

      How about Force Stop the app when not using it to buy your tickets?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Zuck: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard
    Zuck: Just ask
    Zuck: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS
    [Redacted Friend's Name]: What? How'd you manage that one?
    Zuck: People just submitted it.
    Zuck: I don't know why.
    Zuck: They "trust me"
    Zuck: Dumb fucks

    • by inking ( 2869053 )
      How is that different from email? Should everyone run their own server?
      • How is that different from email? Should everyone run their own server?

        With email you can choose your provider. You don't thrust your server operator? Choose another one. With a centralized social network you can't choose (Well you choose either the one every one of your friends use but kills your privacy, or one who respects the privacy of you and the other customer).

        • by inking ( 2869053 )
          While that is very true and I am no fan of SNSes either, it has no bearing on the fact that AC's comment applies every bit as much to email as it does to FB.
  • by hyades1 ( 1149581 ) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Tuesday March 06, 2018 @08:05AM (#56215565)

    "We are exploring utilizing location-based marketing as a way to help enhance the overall experience..."

    "We are exploring exciting new ways to rape the wallets of people stupid enough to give a corporate predator unfettered access to their personal lives.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      We will not be selling the data ...

      Until a new CEO writes a new privacy policy that subscribers already agreed to.

      1. Respect subscribers
      2. Scrap the privacy policy.
      3. Sell data to others
      4. Profit!

    • by atrex ( 4811433 )
      "And letting everyone know that they should uninstall our app immediately if they don't like us stalking them"
    • "We are exploring utilizing location-based marketing as a way to help enhance the overall experience..."

      "We are exploring exciting new ways to rape the wallets of people stupid enough to give a corporate predator unfettered access to their personal lives.

      I know it's popular on here to laud intellectual superiority, but for the record:

      1. it's an app that locates cinemas. It's not unreasonable for it to want to know your location to do that in a way that is more useful.
      2. Neither iOS nor Android let you give session-length permissions for location. Once you give it once, they app has it forever
      3. This app is abusing that permission, but there is no way to know what it (or any app) is doing. You have to trust it

      It is *us* (IT / developers) as a community who a

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        2. Neither iOS nor Android let you give session-length permissions for location. Once you give it once, they app has it forever

        No, but iOS has Android beat.

        You can let an app have permission to use location services never, always, or while the app is open.

        The moment you close the app (or background it), it loses location data. This came about after Uber tried to be smart and do some post-trip location gathering as well.

      • 2. Neither iOS nor Android let you give session-length permissions for location. Once you give it once, they app has it forever

        On Android, that second sentence isn't strictly true. On recent versions of Android (I have 7.0), you can enable/disable specific permissions for an app whenever you want. It isn't obvious to a typical user, but the options are there in the Settings app.

  • But who the heck still actually goes to a movie theater to watch a move?
    • by thomst ( 1640045 )

      rukiddingme inquired:

      But who the heck still actually goes to a movie theater to watch a move?

      Not me - and I'll turn 65 in less than two weeks.

      We stopped going to theaters back in 2006, after making the mistake of seeing Superman Returns in "3D". (Only the action sequences were in 3D, so you had to keep putting the polarized glasses on and taking them off throughout the movie - which completely ruined the experience. And the 3D effect itself was so jittery it gave me a headache.)

      Now we watch movies on a 55-inch 4K LCD screen (plenty big enough when you're sitting 7 fee

  • Shit like this is why the Pirate Bay was, is, and always will be the best provider of films. Had Pixar or Dreamworks or the like a donate button, I would give them a couple of hundred euro without hesitation, but shit like this keeps getting in the way.
  • I didn't imagine that the app would be tracking your location before you even left your home, and then follow you while you drive back or head out for a drink afterwards. Did you?

    Does this person think we're all naive idiots? Very first thing I do when I get a new phone is disable *everything* that would let anyone get this type of information. Sure, it means Google Maps isn't as useful but who the fuck cares. I also make sure I kill any app after using it so it's not sitting in memory wasting my battery trying to do bullshit like this.

    • In any crowd, I'm usually outnumbered by people who say "But I want them to know where I am, so I get better ads." You and I aren't the market. We're there because it's not worth identifying us and kicking us out (and because they'd worry about the stink that would get raised).

  • ..."We are exploring utilizing location-based marketing as a way to help enhance the overall experience by creating more opportunities for our subscribers to enjoy all the various elements of a good movie night. We will not be selling the data that we gather. Rather, we will use it to better inform how to market potential customer benefits including discounts on transportation, coupons for nearby restaurants, and other similar opportunities."...

    I don't want that benefit,the cost of it is too high. Can I turn it off?

  • by Striikerr ( 798526 ) on Tuesday March 06, 2018 @09:28AM (#56215875)

    We were going to get MoviePass but now, no thanks! A shifty company like this hiding such information from customers shows us what to expect from them in the future. This is lying through omission. I warned my family members who I had purchased movie pass for and advised that they ditch the service.
    How anyone can believe any kind of explanation / excuse or anything they say going forward is beyond me. Are you sure they aren't tracking your movements at other times?
    Also, I hate the BS they are pulling with movie theatre companies, blacking out some titles in order to squeeze money out of them. This just gets passed onto customers (non-movieopass customers)

  • When the moron published that fact and millions of users switched off location tracking for the app.

    • When the moron published that fact and millions of users switched off location tracking for the app.

      What are you smoking that makes you so unrealistically optimistic about those millions of users? Please tell me - I want some for those days when the blind acquiescence of my fellow citizens makes me want to stick a pencil in my eye.

  • by jenningsthecat ( 1525947 ) on Tuesday March 06, 2018 @10:39AM (#56216247)

    I didn't imagine that the app would be tracking your location before you even left your home, and then follow you while you drive back or head out for a drink afterwards. Did you?

    Dude! Really? You first wrote for an outfit called 'TechCrunch' eleven years ago, yet this app's behaviour surprises you? Just how much time do you spend with your eyes closed and your fingers in your ears singing 'la-la-la'?

  • by Aaden42 ( 198257 ) on Tuesday March 06, 2018 @10:40AM (#56216251) Homepage
    < Location Services MoviePass
    -- -- -- --
    Allow location access:
    Never
    While using the App [x]
    Always

    Fixed that for you...
  • And they know they don't have the product to draw new customers. Hell, they don;t have the product to draw old customers. Or dedicated, repeat customers.

    So they are moving to reserve seating, plush, to simplify and enhance the experience. recliners actually help shield the light from the stupid iPhone X in front of me, so it's a deal, I don't have to waste 45 minutes to get the seat I actually want, and if I go solo I can go get my popcorn just before trailers and not lose my seat.

    They are also going to cha

  • $10/month plus your location, or $10/movie. Your choice.
  • On the iPhone each app asks you if you want to enable Location Services (i.e., tracking)....I **ALWAYS** say no.
  • another innovative idea for a business, that's why he's paid the big bucks. to come up with ideas like this, no-one had ever thought of invasively tracking private lives before. Hooray for creative management.
  • by Actually, I do RTFA ( 1058596 ) on Tuesday March 06, 2018 @12:27PM (#56216883)

    Why do companies like MoviePass, Google, Facebook make a big deal out of "never selling your data". Of course they're not going to sell it. They're going to rent out the ability to use it, it's far more profitable.

    Frankly, I'm not sure who I'd be worried about them selling the data to. They're already the worst offenders of my privacy.

  • The app only needs one location fix to work (your phone needs to be near the theater before you go into the movie). Just disable the app for the other 99.9% of your day.

    Better yet, put it on an older second phone. Moviepass's security model to prevent sharing of the service is that the phone has to be near the theater for the Moviepass card to work. If you're not going to a movie yourself that night, lend the phone to your friends and neighbors along with the card for a buck or two.

    Make sure the world get

  • Let's face it: people tend to sneak in snacks from other places, as the don't want to pay the exorbitant prices of concessions.

    If they track you from home, they'll easily be able to see you stop at, say, the 7-11, on the way to your movie.

    You also can't tell me (with any conviction) that they can't tell if you bought concessions at the theater or not.

    They're going to monetize it, all right... and find out where they're loosing money hand over fist.

    Of course, they'll sell ads and give out coupons for differe

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