A user-centric cybersecurity approach for machine-readable codes on tax stamps, documents, and products.

The introduction of health passes during the COVID-19 pandemic has popularised the use of 2D barcodes. The upcoming implementation of GS1 Digital Link will further accelerate this trend. In Europe, the EU Eco-design for Sustainable Products Regulation will progressively implement the Digital Product Passport, which will encourage smartphone users to interpret 2D codes on products and components across various sectors.

Today, simply scanning a 2D code can lead to significant damage due to substitution fraud. Numerous testimonies have highlighted the potential risks, ranging from identity theft to compromised bank account access.
In this context, citizen cybersecurity must be prioritised as part of a due diligence approach enforced by authorities. It is essential to develop solutions that serve as a safety net, ensuring citizens’ security even when scanning a seemingly legitimate 2D code – since that code could actually be carrying a malicious link.
Three key goals for a digital tax stamp scheme will be depicted:
1. Centralised data and controlled excises volumes for government authorities
2. Simple and seamless integration for manufacturers
3. High protection and information accessibility for inspectors and citizens.