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QR code spam: Concern that COVID-19 check-in details are being used for marketing

3AW Mornings
Article image for QR code spam: Concern that COVID-19 check-in details are being used for marketing

There are growing concerns that the details provided by people using QR codes to check in at venues are being used for marketing purposes.

Checking in using a digital QR code is compulsory in many businesses for COVID-19 tracing purposes, but there is no legislation banning that information from being used for advertising and marketing purposes.

Professor of Law and Information Systems at the University of NSW, Graham Greenleaf, says the right to share details with marketing partners is being included in privacy policies on many QR check-in systems, and “we certainly should be” concerned.

He says people should only give the minimum amount of information required.

“That is just your first name and either your telephone number or your email address,” he told Tony Jones, filling in for Neil Mitchell.

But he wants data collection from COVID-19 QR code check-ins to be illegal.

“There’s another solution too … and that is for governments to pass legislation which makes it completely illegal for this information to be collected for any other purposes other than contact tracing,” he said.

“It needs to be under strict control because it’s not something we’re doing voluntarily.

“You’re not going to read a privacy policy and you shouldn’t be forced to make decisions which have important consequences under those circumstances.

“Collection of data for those purposes should simply be illegal under these circumstances.”

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