An Australian man has been arrested for replacing official government QR codes with links to misinformation, in a highly unusual case.
The 51-year-old man has been arrested and charged after police found he was replacing official QR codes from official government and health department channels with his own QR codes.
These replacement codes allegedly redirected users to misinformation related to the anti-vaccination agenda, which has health officials worried that the public may have been misled by the QR codes.
The Police has confirmed that no data was exchanged from the fake QR codes, and the QR codes presented no major data leak or information security threats.
Police have taken the opportunity to remind the public that tampering or obstructing official QR codes can result in arrests, with penalties exceeding $10,000 for replacing an official health department or government-issued QR code.
According to a report from the ABC, “SA Police said officers went to an Edwardstown address on Wednesday, after it received allegations that fake QR codes were stuck over official business QR codes at South Plympton, south of Adelaide, on Sunday.”
Man Arrested For Replacing Government QR Codes with Misinformation Links
Members of the police’s COVID Compliance Section arrested the 51-year-old man and charged him with two counts of obstructing operations related to COVID-10 under the state’s Emergency Management Act, as well as possession of a prohibited weapon after a knife was discovered by police.
Shortly after the arrest, Adelaide’s Magistrates Court heard that the 51-year-old man replaced official QR codes with his own misinformation links, with prosecutors adding that he should be refused bail on the grounds that he has hampered government efforts to inform the public on COVID-19 guidelines.
The magistrate did, however, offer the man bail, stating that he did not “carry any loose QR labels and did not visit the two businesses” that had their official QR codes replaced with misinformation.
The 51-year-old man is set to return to court in July.