Digital traffic sign in Utah displays homophobic message after being hacked

Christopher Brocklebank August 10, 2012
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A computerised traffic sign in Provo, Utah was hacked on Wednesday, so that the display alternated between “GOD HATES GAYS” and “FOLLOW DETOUR”.

The Utah Department of Transport (UDOT) instructed the construction company in charge of the sign and asked them to remove the message, which they did. The city and UDOT have both denounced the homophobic message and insisted it did not mirror Provo’s values.

According to UDOT spokeswoman Leigh Dethma: “Someone went in and reprogrammed this message board [after 10 pm Wednesday]. We take this extremely seriously because of its offensive nature and because these signs are meant to keep the public safe.”

Provo City Public Information Officer Helen Anderson added: “This is not a Provo City sign and of course it does not reflect the opinion of the city. I personally find it very offensive. Despite every effort to prevent it, sometimes signs like this get hacked. The city has contacted the team working on this construction project and they are looking into it.”

Local gay rights group Equality Utah said via their Facebook page that “After speaking with both Provo City and UDOT we understand that this was an egregious hacking of state property, and join them in denouncing this unacceptable message.”

UDOT is investigating. However, locating the culprit may prove to be a task of some difficulty because the sign cannot be accessed remotely and there were no video cameras present in the locale.


More: Americas, Provo, US, Utah

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