January 29, 2009 By Wayne Hanson
Several roadside traffic hazard warning signs were hacked in Austin, Texas, Monday morning and alternate messages programmed into the computers. According to a report in the Dallas Morning News, someone broke the locks, got through the password, reprogrammed the signs and then changed the passwords. Instead of traffic hazards, the hacked signs warned of zombies. The signs were privately owned and the owner said he would not prosecute, but city officials warned of the dangers of changing the signs.
How to hack these portable signs is now available to anyone on the Internet, so highway officials should take additional precautions.
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.