QR Code Privacy Concerns | Should You Use Them?

The QR (Quick Response) Code is a 2-Dimensional barcode system that contains information that an imaging device can read. This smartphone application allows users to quickly gather information, typically business hours and website addresses, without entering the data manually.

The convenience provided has led to its widespread use within the public sector for gathering information about government offices and services. Still, it is also used in other settings such as social networking sites where users can adopt customizable QR Codes as their user profile or website address.

While this technology has many great uses, there are concerns regarding privacy issues associated with its use. Users who use this code unknowingly share personal information with anyone who scans the malicious QR codes, making them vulnerable to identity theft and other privacy breaches.

To protect yourself from these privacy concerns, it is crucial to be aware of how the QR Code works and take steps to ensure your personal information is not compromised with a legitimate QR code. Let’s discuss it in detail.

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Can A QR Code Track You?

The short answer is yes, but there are ways to protect yourself from being tracked. Whenever you scan a QR code, you’re giving away some information about yourself, precisely, your location.

If you’re not comfortable with companies or individuals being able to track you, you can take a few steps to prevent this.

  • The first way is not to use a QR code reader app – launch your Web browser and go to a website that offers QR codes.
  • If you do use any QR reader application, pay close attention to what permissions it requires!
  • Don’t install it if the app needs permission to access your entire phone or all of its contents. The point of being safe from being tracked is having control over where you give away information.

In general, if an application requests more permissions than necessary for its stated function, don’t install it on your mobile device. It should require as little access as possible to accomplish its task.

One common way hackers break into phones through QR code apps is by taking advantage of requested permissions but not necessary for the app to run.

Does Using QR Codes Make You Vulnerable To Hackers?

There’s no denying the fact that technology provides some pretty big conveniences in our lives, but there are some negatives as well. We’re all familiar with how cybercriminals will steal your credit card number or Social Security number and use it without you knowing.

The same goes for QR codes if you open any malicious URLs via QR scanners, then it might cause issues. This is especially problematic if you use your phone to store other accounts’ login information, such as online banking apps.

Will QR Code Replace A Barcode?

Barcodes are still in use, and they aren’t going anywhere any time soon. QR codes have some advantages over barcodes, they can store more information, but barcodes are perfectly capable of doing what QR codes do. Many companies are starting to use QR codes in addition to barcodes to take advantage of both formats.

So, no, a QR code won’t replace your barcode. They will continue to live side-by-side as we figure out which format is suits best for different tasks.

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The Main Difference

The main difference lies in what they contain. Barcodes were originally designed to hold only the bare minimum amount of information possible.

  • Just enough for a machine to identify what it was seeing, which made them very simple. They were intended for businesses so that their inventory could be processed more quickly.
  • Later on, they became widely used as shipping labels, with shipping companies able to track packages by scanning these codes at each step.
  • QR codes are much more versatile than barcodes because you can fit much more into them without taking up any additional space or time.
  • You can store websites’ URLs, for example, instead of just numbers that need to be identified before being processed.
  • You can also include more complex information like GPS coordinates and contact information, making them a popular choice for business cards that need this type of data.

Also Read: What Is Two-Factor Authentication? Working And Common Types


1. Are QR Codes Safe?

QR Codes use 256-bit encryption and 128-bit encryption which is similar to credit cards and higher than most website passwords.

This high level of QR code security makes it difficult for unapproved scanners or hackers to access encoded data. But still, a malicious QR code can cause issues.

2. Can I Use My Own QR Code Sticker Instead Of Mailing Address Or Card?

Yes, using a QR Code for your contact information is an effective and economical way to share it. Using this method saves you time and money by not having to hand out multiple cards at networking events or through mailings.

Once your contacts have scanned your code, they will have instant access to all of the necessary information needed for follow up such as your phone number, email address, or website address.

3. Will People who Scan My QR Code Be Sent Spam?

No, when someone scans a QR Code they are taken directly to the intended destination which allows marketers to track their customers’ preferences and interests without having random spam sent to them afterward. Scanning a QR code sticker is not spam and won’t cause any personal data breaches and security risks.

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5. Can I Track Who Scans My QR Code?

Yes, by using a QR Code software or tracking service you can see where and when your QR Code gets scanned. This information is helpful for understanding how people are using your code and for measuring the success of your marketing campaigns.

Summing Up

Overall, QR Codes are a secure and efficient way to share information with others. By understanding the common privacy concerns associated with them, you can confidently use them without having to worry about the safety of your data. Also, it’s important to be mindful of the security implications when using QR codes.

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