Traffic-stopping billboards

Published: January 15th, 2010
As Toronto city council debates the practicality of a billboard tax — supposedly to combat visual pollution, but the cash sure would be nice — let us consider the impact that the march of technology could have on outdoor advertising.
 
More and more often, billboard space is being taken up by electronic, rather than static, advertising. Witness, for example, the eye-splitting Dundas Square experience in T.O.
 
These video billboards are, obviously, adminstered and controlled over the network. And, as we know, anything on the network can be hacked. So what kind of damage could online ruffians do to a company's, or a city's, reputation?
 
Exhibit A: The American Foreign Press reports that hackers accessed electronic billboards on Moscow's Garden Ring Road, replacing ads with an explicit sex video. This, quite naturally, stopped traffic.
 
The director of company victimw Panno.ru said the attack may have been linked to competition in the advertising biz, or it may have been a simple act of hooliganism. That said, shield your eyes in Dundas Square.

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