Impact of Scrambling on Barcode Entropy

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Security barcodes and other “actionable” barcodes have become commonplace as a consequence of the recent ubiquity of mobile phones equipped with high-quality cameras. In this paper, we provide methods for quantifying the entropy of the embedded barcode data, assuming methods other than the standards-specified error correcting code (ECC) approaches can be adopted. Entropy, which reduces the likelihood of a fraudulent agent being able to “guess” correct barcodes, is measured directly using a variety of novel algorithms and applied to large sets of barcodes. Our data, however, show that removing ECC provides the additional advantage of increasing entropy. Thus, all other settings (data payload size, printing technology, substrate used, etc.) being equal, eliminating the ECC will increase the security of the information content.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2010

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  • For more than 25 years, NIP has been the leading forum for discussion of advances and new directions in non-impact and digital printing technologies. A comprehensive, industry-wide conference, this meeting includes all aspects of the hardware, materials, software, images, and applications associated with digital printing systems, including drop-on-demand ink jet, wide format ink jet, desktop and continuous ink jet, toner-based electrophotographic printers, production digital printing systems, and thermal printing systems, as well as the engineering capability, optimization, and science involved in these fields.

    Since 2005, NIP has been held in conjunction with the Digital Fabrication Conference.

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