Friday, October 16, 2015

The DOT in the Digital Age

Here’s a challenge. What do the following numbers mean/represent?

0101010001110010011101010110001101101011011010010110111001100111
54 72 75 63 6b 69 6e 67

To most people, the above numbers are nothing more than a series of 1s and 0s and random numbers and letters. To a hacker, that is the binary and hexadecimal code translation for “Trucking.” Binary and hexadecimal codes are two of several types of codes used to write computer programs. They are as unique as the series of words used in a novel to tell a story. Like a novel, codes are protected by copyright laws. Unlike works of fiction, they are meant to be kept a secret.

In the 21st century, nearly every vehicle function is propelled via computer systems. Those systems are driven by various codes that tell them what to do. If anyone discovers what the codes are for a particular function, that person could manipulate said function. One can see why these scripts that look like hieroglyphics to us need to be protected.

Currently, the U.S. Copyright Office is in the middle of a rulemaking that exempts computer programs in vehicles from copyright laws. This is nothing new as such exemptions are revisited every three years. The latest rulemaking just extends the exemption. However, the U.S. Department of Transportation is now opposing the extended exemption for the next three years.

In a letter dated Sept. 9, 2015, the DOT expressed concern over two classes of security software that the proposed rulemaking would allow owners of a vehicle to circumvent. Those two classes are:

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Rearview: The legacy of Arrow Trucking’s “Nightmare before Christmas”

Editor’s note: We’re looking “in our rearview” to bring you some of our favorite stories, columns and items from Land Line’s 40-year history. With the recent sentencing of former Arrow Trucking CEO Doug Pielsticker, we take a look back at some of the heroes and villains who emerged following “The Nightmare before Christmas” in 2009, with blog post by Managing Editor Jami Jones. If you have a chance, click here, here and here to read the original posts along with additional coverage of the Arrow collapse.

The journey for truckers through 2009 was a bumpy one to say the least. Just as the year wound down and Arrow Trucking slammed its doors shut and stranded 1,400 some odd drivers around the country – it felt like we were careening down the mountain.

That was until a small effort started on Facebook to coordinate offers for help with the Arrow drivers needing the help. Sure, we launched it here from OOIDA and babied it through its infancy, but that’s just a minute piece of the miracle that unfolded.