September 11 - September 15, 2017

Black market OSHA training cards are on the rise again, according to an investigation last month. The agency is reportedly releasing new, plastic cards equipped with QR codes to curb the fraud. Do you think this will help?

Answers Votes
Other (please respond in the comments) 63%
No 24%
Yes 13%

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Tagged categories: Good Technical Practice; OSHA

Comment from M. Halliwell, (9/12/2017, 12:27 PM)

It'll help only as long as it takes the black market to copy the design. Really, how many folks will check the QR code? If they do, will OSHA have enough info on their confirmation site to actually confirm that the card is fake (i.e. will they have photos of the certified folks in their profiles?). Also, how hard do you think it is to make an off-shore, faked OSHA-like site....seriously, if the black marketers can make potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars for a couple thousand in outlay, this won't slow them down at all.

Comment from Jesse Melton, (9/13/2017, 8:52 AM)

The QR Code is just a barcode. In point of fact, it's just the trademarked name of a particular barcode symbology. Way back in 1994, when it was introduced, it was unique because it was 2D and contained four encoding modes. At the time a 3D barcode was required to achieve the same level of data density.

Fast forward 23 years to today where the QR code is a fully extensible barcode symbology that allows for things like control of the browser frame from inside the scanning application. For the low, low price of absolutely free you can generate your own QR codes and the browser frame will display whatever you want. As long as the browser frame has a back button of some kind and a close button it'll display whatever you want. You don't have to display a URL, or even a page title, but you can and you can make it anything.

The QR code was never intended to be a secure information store. It was developed to track car parts in a cheap way that also supported kanji. It was hijacked by marketing companies for those same reasons and they made it even less suitable for anything important. This is uninformed, outdated decision making that simply can't accomplish what it's supposed to. As Michael notes, when you add in the financial incentives it doesn't make sense to not sell counterfeit OSHA training certification cards. It's an easy win for those inclined to such activities.

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (9/14/2017, 9:09 AM)

Good commentary Jesse.

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