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Philip Morris device knows a lot about your smoking habit

By Feux Follets following x   2018 May 15, 10:42am 58 views   0 comments   watch   sfw   quote     share    

Unlike a conventional cigarette, the iQOS is an electronic device with circuitry that enables it to collect user information. A teardown analysis shows this could give the tobacco giant remarkable insight into people's smoking habits.

Philip Morris says it only uses the data to fix malfunctions.

In seeking regulatory approval for a new smoking device called iQOS, Philip Morris International Inc is claiming the electronic gadget is less likely to cause disease than traditional cigarettes. But the iQOS holds another, less obvious advantage over regular smokes: the ability to harvest personal data about users’ smoking habits.

The tobacco giant is already building a database of iQOS customers who register with the company. And it has developed a software application that could take things a step further.

The initiative, if allowed by regulators, could extract information about a user’s smoking routine from the device and use it for marketing purposes, said a former project manager at the company who tested the software in Japan. That data would include the number of puffs and average consumption per day, said Shiro Masaoka, who worked at Philip Morris in Japan from 2012 to 2016.

Asked about Masaoka’s comments, Philip Morris said the software in the device that controls temperature and duration of use “is not used for marketing purposes whatsoever.”

A Canadian firm that specializes in reverse-engineering tech devices says the iQOS is equipped with two microcontroller chips, including one that, with modifications to the device, could support the storing of usage information that could then be transmitted back to Philip Morris. From the product description of the chips used, the data could include details like the number of puffs by a user and how many times a person smoked the device in a given day, according to Ottawa-based TechInsights Inc, which examined the iQOS’ innards for Reuters.

The firm’s inspection included the hardware and components; it did not test the functionality of the device’s software. Reuters is publishing TechInsights’ teardown report as part of a searchable repository, The Philip Morris Files, which includes internal company documents.

Presented with the TechInsights findings, Philip Morris said in a statement: “No data information from the device is linked to a specific consumer, only the device.”

An internal Philip Morris handbook dated 2016 discussed approaches to social media. It gave examples of possible Facebook posts aimed at customers. “Did you know?” one suggested post reads. “Our newest version of iQOS can be connected to an app that’ll help you adjust to the product much quicker. Take it for a spin and learn more.”

“What they’re going to have is a mega database of how Americans smoke.” - Gregory Connolly, a professor at Northeastern University in Boston

More Including Technical Information: https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/tobacco-iqos-device/

#Vaping #ECigarettes #Smoking #Surveillance

Related Post: http://patrick.net/post/1280065/2015-04-16-e-cigarette-use-triples-among-teens-in-just-one-year
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