Digital Billboard Hacked Again to Display Anti-Car Message

Digital Billboard Hacked Again to Display Anti-Car Message
Screenshot courtesy of Curtis Fox

Hackers on Monday aimed, again, to make drivers consider the impact of their choice of transportation in Prospect Heights, co-opting a digital street sign to display messages such as “cars kill kids” and “cars are death machines.”

The “variable message sign,” or VMS, on Vanderbilt Avenue between Park Place and Sterling Place belongs not to DOT but to a contractor with the agency, the department said on Twitter. This was the second time in a week that the Vanderbilt VMS had been hacked to display anti-car messages; a sign in Park Slope was hacked on Wednesday to call for banning cars.

The full message on the billboard read “cars kill kids, cars melt glaciers, cars ruin cities, stop driving! Get rid of your car, honking won’t help, cars are death machines, use bus, subway, or bike!”

DOT told Bklyner that the sign had been reprogrammed to read “Construction Eastern Parkway,” and that the board belongs to demolition contractor Gramercy Group Inc. A representative for Gramercy Group could neither confirm nor deny that the sign belongs to the company.

The signs are popping up in the city amid an epidemic of cyclist deaths at the hands of drivers, most recently that of 10-year-old Dalerjon Shahobiddinov in Midwood. The increasing death toll, along with street redesign efforts like the 14th Street busway in Manhattan, have placed “breaking the car culture” at the forefront of political discussion this year.

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