Thanks for your comment.

I was under the impression that the signs for this exhibition would say “no professional photography”, and that staff would be checking for high-end cameras, telephoto lenses, and the like. But it’s an interesting question: smartphone cameras are only going to get better and better, and at some point the line will be blurred between “professional” photography and that produced by pocket-sized cameras. At that point, will we have to stop using QR codes? Or will we have to find a way to accept that a handful of people will try to take pictures from their phones?

In the case of some of the exhibits, the issue is with flash photography (which can damage the exhibit and distract other visitors), which would be easy to set rules on. In other cases, it’s related to copyright restrictions (where the rights to an exhibited work are not in the public domain). The fact that different exhibits in the same exhibition may have different rules could also be a factor in the future use of QR codes, should it become apparent that smartphone cameras are getting to the level of “professional” cameras.

But for the time being, it looks like “happy ignorance” has been an acceptable compromise position. I’m sure that if you pulled out a 20 megapixel digital SLR camera that the staff would have something to say to you, but I’d hope that they wouldn’t mind you clicking on a QR code with your smartphone. The restriction on photography allow the staff the freedom to act in a way that seems suitable for each individual case, and I suspect that most visitors won’t actually see “scanning a QR code” as being a form of photography (even though it actually is).

Feel free to get in touch if you’d like to talk about QR codes some more; I’m not sure I can be of much use with policymaking, but I’m happy to share my knowledge about the technical side of things!