Trinity College QR code catches worldwide attention for data protection

29 Jan 2015

The QR code in Trinity College Dublin. Image via TCD

A mysterious QR code projected onto the front of Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and dotted around campus has taught a significant number of people a valuable lesson in securing your own data.

The scannable code appeared without warning on Monday this week all across the college and given human nature, curiosity drove a number of people to scan it and see what lay behind the black and white square design.

Now, according to TCD, they revealed that over 100 people scanned the code only to find a web page that asked people to enter in a variety of personal information including their name gender, email address and even some more vital information including their data of birth, occupation and credit card details.

Of the 100 or so people who did go as far as even entering any information, a staggering 90pc of users volunteered their name and gender, with 27pc of those respondents even going as far as handing over their medical conditions and credit card number.

Thankfully, the details were not part of a malicious plot to harvest information, but was rather a clever promotional piece to mark yesterday’s marking of Data Protection Day which has since gone on to receive international attention.

“While this exercise was for demonstrative purposes only with a view to raising awareness regarding placing personal data online, it could easily have had a more sinister agenda,” said the college’s post on the experiment. “The moral of the story – Think before you click!”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic