A man displays a train ticket with a QR code on the bottom right hand corner. (Photo/Xinhua)
China's netizens are claiming that QR code-scanning software can enable unscrupulous individuals to extract personal information such as names and ID numbers from train tickets, which can then be used for illegal purposes such as forging bank cards, fraud and blackmail, reports national broadcaster China National Radio.
A QR — or quick response — code is a type of two-dimensional matrix barcode that was first designed for the automotive industry but have since become popular in consumer advertising, with both Apple and Android offer applications that can turn smartphones into instant QR code readers. Chinese train tickets have been imprinted with QR codes since 2010.
According to Wang Hua, an official in the propaganda department of China's Ministry of Railways, special encryption technology has been applied to safeguard personal information on train tickets. To avoid unnecessary trouble, however, Wang still cautioned passengers to look after their train tickets and not throw them away carelessly.
Despite the assurances, many passengers remain concerned about the leakage of personal information via their train tickets.
Tao Yong, a QR code engineer, says that QR codes boast larger information capacity, are easier to read, and can better protect against forgeries.
Wang Hua 王華
Tao Yong 陶勇