Restaurant patrons who've grown accustomed during the pandemic to whipping out their phones to access menus using QR codes should understand the implications for their personal data, say privacy and cyber-security experts.
That's especially important given some restaurant owners are finding electronic menus efficient and cost effective, and that they may hold onto the practice even after COVID-19 is more contained.
It's not the QR code itself that collects customer data, said Dustin Moores, a privacy lawyer with nNovation LLP in Ottawa.
"What the QR code does is it sort of acts as a web link to a web page. So when you scan a QR code on your phone, in all likelihood it is going to send you to either the restaurant's website, or to the website of a service provider that's being used by the restaurant," he told Cost of Living producer Jennifer Keene.
"What's happening is we're replacing a very sort of innocuous object, a restaurant menu, with a website that comes with all the sort of tracking technologies that you see in modern e-commerce today."