Tell it to SunStar: Cebu City’s QR code passes need well-designed system

Max Limpag, Technology blogger

IN A briefing this noon (Tuesday, June 30, 2020), Cebu City Legal Chief Rey Gealon asked people to share the limited QR code passes. He asked people not to fill in their names but the name of their condo building or subdivision to facilitate sharing. The way he described the “security” feature of the QR code passes seemed to indicate there IS NO SYSTEM behind it.

He said you authenticate it by comparing the alphanumeric string (the quarantine pass number) after you scan with what is printed on the pass.

He also asked people not to tamper with the passes. “Palihug ayaw i-tamper,” he threatened those who do so that authorities would go after them.

Some points.

1) Without a system, the QR code is of no use. Adorno. Not even for authentication because it is so easy to duplicate and generate. The only thing that would stop a person from duplicating the QR Code passes is the same thing that would stop her from duplicating a pass without a QR code: conscience and civic mindedness. The QR Code does not add security in this case.

With a well-designed system, you don’t have to plead to people not to tamper with the passes. The system will detect tampering.

2) Without a system behind it, the budget for this project should be scrutinized. Dapat printing lang and bond paper and possibly its distribution. No budget for system and other tech.