Wait, what? That’s right, QR codes are more than a convenient way to pull up a URL, they actually are able to transmit personal data like a phone number or email address, along with how often the user might be scanning the code in question. We thought it’d be beneficial to dive into how exactly QR codes work, and best practices for using them.

You’ve most likely ran into a QR code at a restaurant or bar, even as covid restrictions ease up. Coinbase infamously ran a Superbowl ad that was nothing more than a QR code changing colors and moving across the screen like a screensaver- and got so many hits they crashed their own app.

What you probably didn’t realize was the data scanning a QR code is transmitted. Most companies that use QR codes will tell you they aren’t selling the data, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t sharing it, as they quietly track and target your information online.

If you’re not familiar, a QR code is a pixelated square barcode that can take you to a URL, or stores data like a restaurant menu or coupon code. You used to have to download a QR reader app to use them, but these days most phones have QR readers built into the camera. So all you have to do is point your camera app at the QR code like you were taking a picture of it, and your phone will recognize the code and send you to the connected URL… and quietly transmit your user data.

For those of us concerned with data privacy, this can be concerning. Especially considering that privacy legislation tends to be a few steps behind the technology as it emerges. There’s nothing to keep these companies from sharing your information with 3rd-party data brokers at this point in time. If enough data ends up in the wrong hands, from QR codes to data breaches, it all adds up and paints a picture you may not want just anyone to see.

That’s why Softcom does not release any of our customer data outside of the company. Your privacy matters, and we will protect it. Here at Softcom, we can pledge to you that we do not share any data collected from our customers outside of our company for any reason and will never do so in the future.