Myths And Theories Created Regarding Barcodes In South Africa

Despite the widespread adoption and use of barcodes in South Africa as well as throughout the world, there are many people out there who are not in favour.

Conspiracy theories thrive claiming that they are part of a larger attempt to control human behaviour and are part of a surveillance technology used to keep track of people.

Other conspiracy theories relate to the devil’s number which is apparently hidden within the UPC format. In this blog post, I will go through each conspiracy theory and explain their beliefs and claims regarding the UPC & EAN system.

When computers and barcode technology first emerged, they were a new and scary phenomenon to a lot of people. People do not trust what they do not know or understand.

I’m sure we are all like this at times when it comes to new technology for people still living in previous generations. They developed beliefs and theories that explained barcodes in South Africa in a way that matched their own world view.

In the 1970s, a highly developed computer was created in Brussels. This computer was named the Beast by many locals.  According to these conspiracy theorists the beast was a three story computer that was created to control the transactions of people.

On top of this, the computer would use unseen tattoos on everyone’s forehead or hand in order to identify each person. This tattoo would contain a set of three 6 digit numbers (666). 

This all sounds very scary and intimidating; however, the truth is that this theory actually came from a popular fictional book at the time. 

An author called Joe Musser made up the whole “Beast Computer” idea for a novel and a subsequent screenplay.  This theory was taken up by the general public and converted into truth and this theory ran like wildfire.

A video on this can also be watched on YouTube at this link:

One of the most prominent conspiracy theories about barcodes in South Africa has arisen out of extreme fundamentalist Christianity.  They claim that they are embedded with the mark of the beast – 666. 

Each one is made up of by numbers and each number has two corresponding lines.  All barcodes for South Africa have two narrow lines in the beginning, the middle and at the end.

These lines do not have corresponding numbers underneath them.  They are meant to represent the 666 or the mark of the beast.

The Mark of the Beast comes from the Bible, download a Bible app here to read your Bible on your phone Google Play Bible in the Book of Revelations.  Revelations 13: verses 16 – 18 as per below:

“He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 

This calls for wisdom.  If anyone has insight let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man’s number. His number is 666.”

In these verses “He” refers to the Anti-Christ. So far, no one has had to have this mark placed on their body. However, it is almost impossible to buy or sell anything without these codes.  Are they the forerunner of the Mark of the Beast?

One way to debunk this myth is to look closely at the anatomy and how it works. The barcodes in South Africa consist of three guard bars – these are where conspiracy theorists get their 666 from.  These guard bars function by telling the scanner when to start scanning and when to stop. 

They’re in no way connected to the Mark of the Beast.  According to George Laurer, who invented the modern UPC format, the fact they are linked to 666 is a coincidence, just like the coincidence that all his names (first, middle, and last names) all have 6 digits each. 

It’s simply a coincidence and not linked to any Mark of the Devil.  Another major conspiracy theory involves the use of barcodes for South Africa to control and regulate human behavior by world governments, particularly the US government.  

When barcodes for South Africa first emerged, the US army used them to track supplies.  Ever since this, they have been determined that they become internationally accepted. 

Why is this?  Are they using them to monitor and control our behavior? Are they there to identify products or control the people buying the products? Some Americans are even scared that RFID chips are being implanted in them through vaccinations.

These chips hold all the information about us including our credit card number, identification number, fingerprints, etc.  The smallest RFID chip is smaller than a grain of sand and therefore easy to get into the body without detection. 

These chips are there to control, monitor, and supervise our behavior.  They claim the US government wants to herd us like cows and control our consumer behavior.                                                                 

In conclusion, it is up to each individual person to decide what they want to believe. We believe that they are not the mark of the devil.  Neither are they being used to control human behavior.

They have been created by humans to make life easier and ensure that business transactions flow as smoothly as possible.

Their main purpose of being invented was to streamline the point of sale system in retail stores and to assist retail shop owners in having a way to serve more customers on a daily basis and turn a greater profit.

It took many years for the codes to be operational and it vastly changed the retail sector once it was rolled out. We view them as something worthwhile to invest in and believe that they will only expand in the future. 

We’re proud to be part of the process of advancing barcoding technology throughout the world.  Whether you live in Cape Town or Johannesburg or even overseas, we are here to answer all your questions and assist you in any way we can.

You can also have a look at our website for information on purchasing your unique codes and frequently asked questions