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QR Codes Can Steal Private Information About You? Really?


QR codes have been getting a bum rap for most of its existence. As QR codes get more and more popular, there has been a flurry of negative press about it.

First there was the speculation that it will never take off, which we all know now to be wrong. Then we have various reports of “infected” QR codes, making people think that QR codes are malicious stuff that should be avoided. And then there is the ironically undying “QR codes are dead” declaration every time a new technology comes along. Well, they have been saying that QR codes are dead for more than three years now, and the last time we’ve checked, they are still around.

Now here comes a columnist from NorthJersey.com, Kevin Demarrais, who says that QR codes can “cost you your privacy.”


DeMarrais became highly alarmist and tried to tie QR codes with the unscrupulous practices of some mobile app developers. DeMarrais writes that mobile apps can collect a lot of application from you without knowing. Yet tries to tie apps with QR codes. Good thing that DeMarrais also writes that QR codes are “not going to upload your address book” after blatantly (and erroneously) claiming that QR codes divulge private things about you. DeMarrais later tries unsuccessfully, but valiantly, to tie QR codes with the “tens of thousands of mobile apps” available, and how these tens of thousands of mobile apps and QR codes could create a valuable cache of information about the user. HUH?

Then DeMarrais cites James Munton, in an effort to tie QR codes with scams. Didn’t work either as Munton confused QR codes with near-field communication, saying that to work QR codes, you wave your phone over something.

A little research would help. Inasmuch as it is good to alert people of potential dangers especially in this connected world of ours, concocting a far-fetched scenario is another thing altogether. Even with the “experts” that the columnist interviewed, nobody would say that QR codes can lead to a privacy breach on your part.

Connecting a non-existent threat to a highly publicized security threat such as those by mobile apps will not make your argument stronger.

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3 Responses to QR Codes Can Steal Private Information About You? Really?

  1. Nikola Komadinic March 9, 2012, 2:27 pm


    saw you post, read the article, sent him an email. He is an ignorant, half interested journalist. From the picture I can guess he is older person, so I would expect more investigation into topic. But, modern times and pressure of creating more and more content make these ghost stories a must for “magazine and portals”. Thanks for this post.

  2. youQR March 10, 2012, 8:25 am

    Actually there isn’t so much facts here. So finally are they dangerous or not? What programmers can do with QRs and what is not possible to do wit them? Are there any hidden way starting functions on mobiles?

  3. admin March 12, 2012, 4:53 am

    Nope, QR codes are NOT dangerous at all. That is the whole point of the article, in that, in an effort to make QR codes seem dangerous, it has been tied to a lot of other technologies. That is unfair and unfounded.

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