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