Biohacker Who Implanted Transit Chip in Hand Evades Fine
Meow-Meow's victory may push outdated laws to catch up with today's technology.
Australian biohacker Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow-Meow has made himself into a real-life cyborg.
In April 2017, Meow-Meow implanted a chip in his hand. The chip is from his Opal card, needed to ride public transportation in Sydney, and it essentially functions as a debit card — users add money to it, then whenever they use a bus, train, or other transportation service, they swipe their card to pay the fee.
Thanks to his new implant, Meow-Meow no longer had to worry about losing his card. The biohacker could just place his hand near the Opal card reader and be on his way.
All this was presumably working out OK for Meow-Meow until August 2017. That’s when the New South Wales transport authority, which issues the Opal cards, charged him with traveling without a ticket and failing to produce a ticket for transportation officials.
In March, Meow-Meow pled guilty to the charges, but argued that he shouldn’t have to pay a fine or have a conviction recorded. The court disagreed, recording his conviction and ordering him to pay a A$220 fine and A$1,000 in legal fees.
Not satisfied with that outcome, Meow-Meow appealed the decision in the District Court. This week, judge Dina Yehia issued her ruling, overturning the conviction and saving Meow-Meow from that A$220 fine. However, the biohacker will still need to cover the legal fees.
According to ABC News, Yehia based her decision on several factors:
- Meow-Meow didn’t have any previous convictions.
- He did pay for his ticket and wasn’t trying to skip out on paying Opal.
- The crime wasn’t all that serious.
Meow-Meow appears satisfied with the outcome. “I’ll have to pay costs…but won the moral victory,” he wrote in a Facebook post. “Cyborg justice has been served.”
Meow-Meow’s “moral victory” might speed up that process. NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance told ABC News the government would continue to review its transport policies, and perhaps the next update will take into account the case of the chip-wielding cyborg with that really odd name.