Scanning a QR code to pull up a menu sure is convenient, but let’s talk legal issues.  I’m Amy E. Feldman.

Quick Response (QR) codes are like bar codes—they can be scanned by your phone’s camera app and then used to open a website, like a restaurant’s menu.  They save paper, allow for touchless ordering, and even let you pay your bill through the code.  But they aren’t without legal implications.  First, there is the risk of hacking—last year, more than fifty thousand Australians using their national QR code system had their personal data exposed.  

But beyond unauthorized access, you might not realize the information you are willingly providing when you scan one.  Companies can collect information like your name, phone number, and payment info, which can be linked so retailers know your ordering habits.  There are very few US regulations on the commercial use of QR codes, so you need to ask how your data is being handled, then decide if you might prefer to handle a paper menu instead.

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