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QR Code Privacy: Flowcode Keeps You Legal

August 9, 2022
Alex Rosenberg


Why data privacy is important for protecting business

The most recent development in mobile marketing is quick response codes or QR codes. Scan a little square with your smartphone to access a website, join an email list, or download more details about an event or a company right away. They work well for getting people moving and providing quick and simple products to clients. By generating harmful QR code software or making them go to nefarious websites, they are also becoming a  means for fraudsters to steal data and infect mobile devices.

Let's look at the importance of data privacy, laws and regulations surrounding data privacy, and how some QR code generators are already making it more secure to use.

What is data privacy?

Data privacy refers to a person's capacity to choose when, how, and to what degree personal data about them is shared with or conveyed to others. This personal information might include a person's name, address, phone number, and online or offline conduct. Many internet users desire to regulate or avoid some sort of personal data collecting, just as they may want to exclude persons from a private chat.

As the number of people using the Internet has grown, so has the necessity for data privacy. In order to deliver services, websites, software, and social media platforms frequently need to gather and keep personal data about users. Some programs and platforms may go beyond users' expectations regarding data gathering and utilization, leaving them with less privacy than they expected. Other applications and platforms may not put enough controls in place to protect the data they gather, which might lead to a data breach that threatens user privacy.

Why is data privacy important?

Data protection is crucial because it protects an organization's information against fraud, hacking, phishing, and identity theft. Any firm that wishes to operate efficiently must secure the security of its data by developing a data protection strategy. The relevance of data protection grows in tandem with the amount of data kept and generated. Data leaks and cyberattacks can have catastrophic consequences. Organizations must secure their data proactively and upgrade their security procedures regularly. Finally, the most important concept and relevance of data protection are shielding and protecting data from various risks and situations.

The CIA triad, whose three letters symbolize the three aspects of data protection: confidentiality, integrity, and availability, is one of the most fundamental data protection models. This model was created to assist people and companies in developing a comprehensive data security strategy. The three components are as follows:

  • Confidentiality: Only authorized operators with suitable credentials have access to the data.
  • Integrity: All data held within a company is accurate, dependable, and not subject to unauthorized modifications.
  • Availability: The data is stored securely and is accessible anytime it is needed.

What are QR codes?

QR codes, which stand for"rapid response," are data-storage barcodes that can be scanned. They're often used in marketing to link people to landing pages, websites, social media accounts, and retail discounts.

For example, a QR code on the back of a business card can take you to a person's LinkedIn page. A billboard QR code may direct you to a landing page. QR codes come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they mostly fall into one of two categories: static or dynamic.

A QR code functions in the same way as supermarket barcodes do. Each QR code is made up of black squares and dots that represent different types of data. When scanned, the barcode's distinctive pattern transforms into human-readable data. This transaction is completed in a matter of seconds.

Users must scan the code using a QR reader or scanner. However, most people currently use their cell phones to do so. If your phone doesn't have the capabilities, there are lots of free QR scanning applications available.

qr code


Privacy risks with QR codes

When a QR code is viewed, attackers can include malicious URLs containing bespoke software, which can subsequently exfiltrate data from a mobile device. It's also possible to put a malicious URL in a QR code that leads to a phishing site, where naïve visitors might provide personal or financial data.

Because people are unable to read QR codes, attackers may easily change them to go to a different resource without being discovered. Many people are aware that QR codes may be used to open a URL, but they may be unaware of the various operations that QR codes can do on a user's device. These tasks can involve adding contacts or writing emails, in addition to opening a webpage.

As a result, fraudsters are able to carry out a variety of assaults on victims. The following are the most prevalent security vulnerabilities associated with QR codes:

1. Malware assaults

Cybercriminals may include dangerous URLs in publicly visible QR codes, infecting everyone who scans them with malware. Simply browsing a website can sometimes result in malware being downloaded invisibly in the background. Apart from that, they may send phishing emails with QR codes that, when scanned, infect the user's device with malware.

2. Phishing attacks

QR codes are also employed in phishing attempts, which is referred to as QPhishing. A cybercriminal may replace a genuine QR code with one that contains the URL of a phishing website. After that, the phishing website asks users to give personal information that thieves sell on the dark web. Apart from that, they may use coercion to get you to pay for goods that would benefit them financially.

3. QR code bugs

It's also possible that it's not a threat actor trying to take advantage of consumers. It was just a flaw in a QR code reader program. Hackers might use the flaw to take advantage of cameras or sensors in phones and other gadgets. Threat actors might potentially take advantage of a flaw or fault in the genuine URLs that the QR code refers to.

4. Financial theft

QR codes have long been a popular way to conduct business and pay payments. During the covid-19 epidemic, its use has skyrocketed as a means of"no-contact" communication and information transmission. Customers may pay by scanning QR codes at eateries and even gas stations. Any threat actor may replace a valid QR code for a false one in such public settings, allowing transactions to be deposited into their bank account.

What is GDPR?

GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation. It's the core of Europe's digital privacy legislation. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which went into effect on May 25, 2018, is a European Union (EU) regulation. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) replaces the 1995 Data Protection Directive and enhances and expands the EU's present data protection system.

GDPR acronym

GDPR is a series of new legislation aimed at giving EU people more control over their data. Its goal is to make the regulatory framework for businesses easier to navigate so that individuals and businesses in the European Union can reap the full benefits of the digital economy.

Under the terms of the GDPR, organizations are not only required to ensure that personal data is collected lawfully and in accordance with strict guidelines, but also that those who collect and manage it are required to safeguard it against misuse and exploitation and to respect the rights of data owners - or face penalties for failing to do so.

Any organization operating in the EU as well as any non-EU organizations providing goods or services to clients or enterprises in the EU are subject to GDPR. That eventually implies that practically every big firm in the world requires a GDPR compliance plan.

There are two distinct sorts of data handlers the legislation relates to: 'processors' and 'controllers'. Article 4 of the General Data Protection Regulation provides definitions for each.

How to become GDPR compliant?

The following checklist will assist businesses in evaluating their existing GDPR compliance level and in making necessary changes to their unsatisfactory data handling procedures.

Data collection

If you don’t understand how personal data moves via your internal systems, you don’t know how it is regulated. Here's a quick structure for categorizing all data sources into seven categories.

  • Source
  • Data collected
  • Reason for data collection
  • How is collected data processed?
  • When is the data disposed of?
  • Do you have consent to collect this data?
  • Does the collected data include sensitive information?

A DPO should be well-versed in GDPR regulations and best practices to carry out these duties successfully.

Appoint a Data Protection Officer (DPO)

Both controllers and processes must designate a Data Protection Officer (DPO) to manage the data protection plan, according to Article 37 of the GDPR. Be aware that even while processes just obey the data handling directives provided by processors, they are nevertheless expected to have a data protection policy.

A DPO must be appointed by a company under the GDPR if any of the following situations arise:

  • Whenever a governmental authority processes data
  • If the data is regularly checked after collection
  • if massive amounts of data are processed

Consider your data collection needs

You should only gather data that you really need if you want to be GDPR compliant. The supervisory authority checking on yourcompliancewill be alarmed if you amass sensitive data without a good justification. A privacy impact assessment (IPIA) and a data protection impact assessment should be performed on all data requirements (DPIA). When the data obtained is extremely sensitive, these impact analyses are required. A DPIA template has been developed by the UK's Information Commissioner's Office to serve as a reference for data protection assessments. To assist you in determining if your specific processing activity needs an assessment, this template gives a broader context for the actions that call for a DPIA.

Report data breach instantly

A necessary GDPR obligation is immediate data breach notification. Both controllers and processors must notify data breaches within 72 hours, under article 33 of the GDPR. The following describes the hierarchical reporting structure: Data breaches must be reported by processors to controllers, who must then disclose them to a supervisory body. Monitoring and enforcing GDPR compliance is the responsibility of a supervisory body, often known as a Data Protection Association or DPA. Additionally, they serve as an organization's main point of contact for all GDPR questions.

Be open about the purposes of data collection

All the information you are gathering about your customers needs to be disclosed to them. Secret data gathering will only result in a large non-compliance consequence. Before any data is gathered, each data collection site must prominently show a data collection acknowledgment.

Users-identifying cookies are considered personal data collectors under the GDPR, and as a consequence, they must be subject to regulation. If an organization complies with the following GDPR standards, it may continue to utilize cookie data:

  • Before any cookies are used, users must expressly consent to their use.
  • The usage of cookie data must be expressly stated by organizations.
  • All user consents must be recorded and kept in a database.
  • If cookie use consent is not given, website access shouldn't be hindered.
  • Users should be able to easily revoke their agreement to cookie use.

Update your privacy policies

Our Privacy Policy must be prominently displayed on your website and kept current. All of your clients must get an email alerting them to any changes whenever one is made. All of the information that is gathered and how it will be used should be specified in a privacy policy. To draught a precise data privacy policy that complies with GDPR, legal counsel is advised.

Regularly evaluate any risks from third parties

The GDPR demands that businesses regularly monitor all security risks and put corrective measures in place for each one. Organizations should deploy a security score and risk assessment system, ideally GDPR-specific risk assessments, to successfully satisfy these standards.

What is CCPA?

California Consumers Protection Act of 2018 is referred to as CCPA. It is the United States' and California's most comprehensive data protection law. In reaction to the GDPR and other data protection rules, it was passed. Although it is not as extensive as EU law, it gives customers greater rights than before regarding the privacy of their data.

The first US state to enact legislation governing data privacy was California. It has undergone several updates.

Only companies that fulfill these criteria are regulated under the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

CCPA acronym

Every firm in the world is affected if:

They (or their parent firm or a subsidiary) acquire personal information about California citizens and they (or they surpass at least one of the following three thresholds:

  • Obtains the personal data of at least 50,000 California residents, households, and/or devices each year
  • Has annual gross revenue of at least $25 million.
  • Selling the personal information of citizens of California accounts for at least half of their annual earnings.

According to California's privacy legislation, a resident is anybody who:

  • is in California for a reason other than one that is brief or transient, or resides in California but is temporarily or permanently absent from the state

How to become CCPA compliant

Businesses are subject to a wide range of additional obligations under the California Customer Privacy Act (CCPA), which also forces them to alter how they view consumer data. Businesses may mostly continue to gather and use personal data as they have in the past, but they must be more upfront about it and be ready to address consumer inquiries about their rights.

We've highlighted the key steps a company must take in this chapter to comply with the CCPA, from data mapping to getting ready for your first privacy request.

Data mapping

The first and typically most time-consuming stage in becoming CCPA compliant is data mapping. Businesses must be very clear about the personal information they are gathering, who they are getting it from, and who they are sharing it with during this process.

When divided into two parts—personal information that comes in and personal information that goes out—this substantial effort is simpler to comprehend.

Inbound information

Consumer data is frequently amassed by businesses. In reality, people frequently gather more information than they are aware of. Determining who you are collecting personal information from and what types of personal information you are collecting is the first step in ensuring CCPA compliance.

Outbound information

The next step is to investigate each category of disclosures of personal information to outside parties after you have mapped the inbound data. The CCPA addresses the sharing and sale of consumer personal information in great detail, and different disclosures are handled in different ways depending on how they are described. Is this a sale of personal information? should be the most important inquiry to ask of any disclosure. The disclosure of personal information to service providers is the most significant exception from the CCPA's definition of selling. The transfer of personal information to a vendor that meets the criteria for a service provider is not a sale and is not impacted by consumer requests to opt out.

Privacy policy

A key element of the CCPA is educating customers about data collecting and their privacy rights. A company will need to make certain adjustments to its privacy notifications after it has finished creating its data map. Fortunately, the procedure is typically rather simple.

Advantages of using Flowcode QR codes For privacy

You should know most QR codes do not adhere to privacy regulations. The safest QR code on the market, Flowcode takes data and privacy extremely seriously. Flowcode is compliant with all domestic and international privacy regulations and is CCPA compliant. Let's talk about some advantages of using Flowcode QR Codes, in terms of privacy.

scanning a Flowcode

Privacy compliance standards

Flowcode fulfills the strictest CCPA and GDPR privacy compliance requirements. As discussed before, GDPR guidelines apply to those companies that are based in the EU or cater to customers in the EU. The CCPA deals with the privacy laws for customers in California.

Transparency

Flowcode provides complete transparency regarding the data that is collected and how it is shared between the concerned parties. Flowcode also provides various avenues for you to access or delete the data that is stored.

Data security

In order to protect your personal information from being mistakenly lost, misused, manipulated, or accessed in an unauthorized way, Flowcode has put in place the necessary technological and physical precautions. When they are obliged by law to do so, Flowcode will notify you and any relevant regulator of a breach and will have processes in place to deal with data security breaches.

Flowcode, unlike other QR code platforms, focuses on the privacy and security aspects of the technology. Apart from their eye-catchy designs and endless flexibility, Flowcode QR codes are safer and more reliable.

QR code security best practices for businesses

Convincing your audience that your QR codes are secure may boost scan and conversion rates. Following are some recommendations and best practices.

Custom brand your QR code

Use consistent QR code templates and incorporate all elements of your distinctive branding kit into the design of the QR code. This entails including unique borders, corporate logos, gradient patterns, and color additions that are all consistent with your brand identity. It might be a big benefit if the landing page that the QR code quickly leads to is consistent with your brand. If you have the option, make sure your code includes your unique brand or corporate domain.

SSL-certify your webpage

Ensure that the QR code leads to an SSL-certified and encrypted website. SSL certificates let consumers know that their information is secure and stop hackers from building phony copies of your website."http://" and anything else that isn't"https://" will now be flagged as warnings by users. Websites lacking an SSL certificate are flagged as"not secure" by web browsers.

Consider buying a QR code generator that is compliant

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and other relevant data privacy rules should be followed by your QR code generator. Your data should be secured from outsiders and other third parties if your QR code partner is GDPR compliant.

A safe QR code generator, like Flowcode, will always provide enterprise-level security protection with data encryption, restricting access to private data, and maintaining data confidentiality.

Stay above the law with Flowcode

Concerns concerning the security and privacy of utilizing QR codes are developing along with the spike in corporate and consumer QR use. Attackers who exploit the technology as a ruse to spread malware or obtain illegal access to personal and financial data are mostly to blame for this.

Here's the long and short of it to allay any worries you might have about using or scanning QR codes for your company: Inherently safe as a technology, QR codes. From a user and company standpoint, it's critical to make sure that best practices for QR code security are followed. As was already mentioned, businesses need to communicate and signal the validity of their codes to increase scans, clicks, and ultimately conversions.

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