Health pass, vaccine, restaurants … What are the different QR codes used for?

With the coronavirus pandemic, the use of QR codes has become widespread. These square barcodes on a white background to be scanned with the camera of smartphones have become the new sesame for reduce contacts between individuals and aspire to find more freedom.

During the first deconfinement, in spring 2020, as in the one that has opened for a few days, QR codes have flourished in bars and restaurants for replace menus terraced prints.

They are also called upon to certify vaccination certificates and Covid tests and justify the state of health of a person using the famous health pass. Their use will intensify in the coming days at the initiative of the government which intends to use them to facilitate the tracing of customers of bars and restaurants with the reopening of indoor rooms on June 9.

In the health past: Covid tests and proof of vaccination

Since the beginning of May, people who are screened or vaccinated have been given a paper or can download a certificate from the Health Insurance website that includes two QR codes.

The first, located at the top left of the document, is not a QR code itself. It’s a datamatrix, a 2D-DOC code aimed at certifying the authenticity of proof of vaccination. It is this electronic signature that will be used in the health pass from June 9 to access public events bringing together more than 1,000 people, such as festivals, or to travel to Europe when the digital green certificate will be deployed in July.

The second, top right, is a real QR code. It allows you to transfer the vaccination certificate to the booklet of the TousAntiCovid application to keep it and present it in digital format, in this case in 2D-DOC format.

Sample photo posted on Twitter
Credit: Capture Twitter

These 2D-DOC codes can be read by operators filtering the entries of events of more than 1,000 people or airline staff when boarding. Their devices will be programmed to display only a green or red logo signifying that access is authorized or not, without revealing the visitor’s personal information.

Each person can download a 2D-DOC code in the TousAntiCovid application to certify a Covid test
Each person can download a 2D-DOC code in the TousAntiCovid application to certify a Covid test
Credit: Government

Warning: as the authorities recently emphasized, it is strongly recommended not to post your vaccination certificate or a PCR test certificate with its associated QR code on Twitter. Because by sharing this famous sesame you risk exposing personal information that could be used without your knowledge later. QR codes can in fact be read simply with a smartphone camera and 2D-DOCs with a dedicated application.

From June 9: to secure the reopening of bar and restaurant rooms

As of this Wednesday, June 9, you will also find QR codes at the entrance of cafes, bars, restaurants, drinking establishments, sports halls (not equipped with a badge system) and other establishments open to the public in interior. The objective is to keep the list of anonymized identifiers of visitors to these places for be able to warn them in case of risk contamination.

The use of QR codes is not not mandatory. It will also be possible to enter your identity and a contact in a paper format reminder book.

The QR code system uses the TousAntiCovid application to register the place on the user’s phone and notify him if another visitor present in the same time slot registers as sick in the application on the following days.

Example of a QR code that will be found in restaurants on June 9
Example of a QR code that will be found in restaurants on June 9
Credit: Government

Two levels of alert will be offered. If a person tests positive, everyone present at more or less 2 hours will be informed that they may have been exposed to the virus and invited to be tested. If three people report positive in the same range, all other people present in this place will be considered as a contact case and invited to isolate themselves and be tested.

For security reasons, the government recommends that professionals regularly change QR codes inside their establishment, as a QR code can be easily hijacked. Individuals could replace them with illegitimate codes referring to malicious sites. Merchants will be able to do this by manually replacing their printed QR codes at regular intervals or by using rotating QR codes on digital media.

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