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Reuters reports that Philip Morris International’s electronic smoking device, the iQOS, harvests personal data about users’ smoking habits and that the company has developed software that, if approved for use, could store user data for marketing purposes. Reverse engineering by TechInsights found that the iQOS device contains two microcontroller chips, with one capable of storing user information that could be transmitted back to Philip Morris. In response to the finding, Philip Morris said, “No data information from the device is linked to a specific consumer, only the device.� Gregory Connolly, a professor at Northeastern University, warned of a mega database on smoking habits. Connolly said, “Then they’ll be able to reprogram the current puffing delivery pattern of the iQOS to one that may be more reinforcing and with a higher addiction potential.�
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