MoviePass revealed it has removed an "unused app location capability" after comments from its CEO surfaced about how it could track consumers before and after they visited a movie theater.
Last week, MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe suggested the app had the potential to follow users even when they weren't using the app to take in a movie, renewing concerns that tech companies were taking advantage of the GPS-tracking capabilities of smartphones to amass more personal data about individuals than they often realized.
MoviePass surged in popularity last summer, offering a $9.95-a-month subscription for unlimited movie watching in theaters. The service allows a user to watch one movie at a supporting theater every day.
The company released a statement following Lowe's remarks claiming it was considering options such as restaurant recommendations or parking discounts as a way to offer a "complete moviegoing experience" by leveraging users' location data.
"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," reads a statement obtained Thursday by USA TODAY. "Our members will always have the option to choose the location-based services that are right for them today and in the future.'
An app update said the "unused app location capability" on MoviePass had been removed.
During a presentation on March 2 at the Entertainment Finance Forum in Los Angeles, Lowe laid out ways MoviePass could leverage user data.
"Because you are being tracked in your GPS by the phone, our patent basically turns on and off our payment system by hooking that card to the device ID on your phone, so we watch how you drive from home to the movies," said Lowe, as reported by Media Play News. "We watch where you go afterwards, and so we know the movies you watch. We know all about you."
MoviePass said it would not sell the data it gathered. However, it is common for some tech companies to gather and sell data to third parties.
In January, fitness app Strava sparked concerns over how it protects personal data after publishing an interactive map potentially containing sensitive information.
Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.