Department of Transportation workers took down a 16 square foot QR code posted on an exit sign found on one of the busiest freeways in Hawaii this week. The freeway was closed while workers dismantled the code, putting an end to what had been a stressful distraction for drivers. The code had been posted last week, though no one knows at exactly what time. The code took scanners to the website of UDOWN, a local fashion store. The company claims to have had no involvement whatsoever.
As QR codes become more popular, their inherent simplicity is growing more apparent. Anyone can create a QR code online for free as a plethora of code generators are readily available. The code that appeared on one of the exit signs of the freeway were not accompanied by any other printed content that would have identified it as coming from UDOWN. After the code was done away with, UDOWN posted a statement on its website, noting that the company does not encourage or support vandalism of any kind.
QR codes have become a popular tool amongst marketers looking to engage a mobile audience, but they have also been gaining repute with hackers. The codes are easily produced, making them available to a wide range of people willing to put a minimal amount of effort into their use. While this particular code was not linked to any malicious content, it did give drivers a bit of a headache as many missed the exit they were looking for because it was covered by a massive code.