An information theoretic approach to assist in identifying counterfeit consumer goods

Jubilant Swelihle Maabane, Reolyn Heymann

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


In an increasingly connected world where products are just a click away, there is a growing need for systems that seek to equip consumers with the necessary tools to identify misrepresented products. Sub-standard ingredients used in the production of sanitary towels can pose a serious health risk to the consumer. Informal retailers or Spaza-shops have been accused of selling counterfeit food products to unsuspecting consumers. In this paper, we propose a system that can be used by consumers to scan a quick response (QR) code printed on the product. Built into an android application, is a system that applies the RSA public key encryption algorithm to secure the data prior to encoding into the QR code. The proposed system is also responsible for updating location data of previous scans on a dedicated cloud database. Upon completion of a field test, having collected months of consumer data, counterfeit prediction can be improved. In addition, a timely warning can be sent to a customer and relevant authorities if a unique product batch number is scanned outside of an expected area.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of 2021 IEEE AFRICON, AFRICON 2021
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9781665419840
Publication statusPublished - 13 Sept 2021
Event2021 IEEE AFRICON, AFRICON 2021 - Virtual, Arusha, Tanzania, United Republic of
Duration: 13 Sept 202115 Sept 2021

Publication series

NameIEEE AFRICON Conference
ISSN (Print)2153-0025
ISSN (Electronic)2153-0033


Conference2021 IEEE AFRICON, AFRICON 2021
Country/TerritoryTanzania, United Republic of
CityVirtual, Arusha


  • Android
  • Cloud Storage Database
  • Public-key encryption
  • QR code
  • RSA private-key decryption
  • Spaza-Shop
  • Township Community

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'An information theoretic approach to assist in identifying counterfeit consumer goods'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this