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Juul has launched the first in a series of bluetooth-connected e-cigarettes that can monitor users’ vaping and track their devices. The Juul C1, as the device is known, started selling in the United Kingdom this week after a successful pilot in Canada.
Dan Thomson, managing director of Juul’s U.K. business, said that in order to use the device, which is linked to an app on users’ smartphones, customers had to go through stringent age verification checks that included facial recognition and two-step background check with third-party databases.
Juul’s C1 device will allow users to monitor how many puffs they take a day, as well as locate their vape if they lose it. It also has an auto-lock option that means the e-cigarette can be locked when out of the phone’s range in order to prevent others using it.
However, privacy experts have raised concerns about the gathering of data required to develop the device.
“Data about the machine that goes back to the manufacturer can tell you a lot about the user and who that user is,” said Martin Garner, COO of the technology consultancy CCS Insight. “The main risk is if that data gets out . . . you could identify the person from it . . . and that it could be health-related information, which is a super sensitive area in GDPR [the EU General Data Protection Regulation].”
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