Health Ministry wants police to investigate trade in counterfeit CoronaCheck QR Codes
The Ministry of Health will press charges regarding the online trade in QR codes used to bypass coronavirus access points at venues around the Netherlands. The ministry confirmed their intentions following a report from broadcaster NOS.
The QR codes which were sold or shared have been blocked since last weekend and cannot be used. One site used to offer the codes is now offline, but the ministry said it knows of several other websites.
The QR codes themselves are legitimate. They are then offered by CoronaCheck app users so that others can put the illicit codes into a counterfeit app. Those people improperly use the codes. NOS discovered that the fake app even shows the moving cyclists and skateboarders, which inspectors check to establish if the app is genuine and not displaying a screenshot. Replicating the motion graphics makes it very difficult to spot the deception. The providers also share their initials and dates of birth so that the new users can take that into account when they are checked.
"Purchasing a QR code that doesn't belong to you, or using a QR code that doesn't belong to you, is punishable. Providing your own QR code to others is also punishable. And so we will report it [to police] if we see QR codes being widely shared," the Ministry of Health said. It is not known how many people have used them.
For a few weeks now, people have needed a coronavirus pass to be admitted to restaurants, cafes, theaters, and cinemas, among other things. Each visitor is also supposed to show their QR code before entering football stadiums, concert halls, sports clubhouses, and festivals. The codes can be created in the CoronaCheck app when people are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, when they test negative for the coronavirus, or when they have recently recovered from a coronavirus infection. Those passes are then supposed to be scanned before the holder is allowed to enter the venue.
Reporting by ANP