Are there really condoms with QR codes?

Taking the Fun Out of Lying and Bragging

Could you imagine "checking in" from your own boudoir?
Could you imagine "checking in" from your own boudoir?
Vincenzo Lombardo/Getty Images

When planning the Where Did You Wear It website, the folks at PPGNW were worried about privacy and the potential for abuses, Nathan Engebretson says. So they went to considerable pains to protect the identity and location of participants.

"This isn't really an exciting Web site to lie or brag on," Engebretson says. "People should not find it very tempting to exaggerate the numbers of their sexual encounters or to suggest that someone they know is especially active." That's because the site never identifies people and doesn't store names, e-mail addresses or street addresses. The pins on the Web site map aren't precisely linked to geographical addresses. They're randomly generated to be accurate within an area equal to three or four city blocks, Engebretson says. In addition, the site doesn't allow visitors to zoom in to street level or house level.

Visitors aren't allowed to write their own comments. Instead, they can choose among available comments and descriptions in drop-down menus.

So why do people bother? Human nature, Engebretson speculates. People in the target audience – college students in their late teens and early 20s – are comfortable with QR codes and interactive Web sites. They see the map as fun. And they might learn something: The map shows only about 200 locator pins at once, but every time a user refreshes the page or zooms in, new pins show up. "We hope this will be part of making a change to people's feelings, of showing them that it can be cool to use condoms," Engebretson says.

Are there QR codes on condoms anywhere else? Keep reading to learn about the Swedish approach.