Cyborg fined for riding train without valid ticket

Subcutaneous smart card doesn’t cut it in Sydney

A self-described “cyborg” who slipped a public transport smartcard under his skin has pled guilty to riding trains without a valid ticket and copped a fine, plus costs.

Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow-Meow, the chap’s actual name, claims to be a bio-hacker and, as we wrote in 2017, wanted to pay for train journeys with a wave of his hand. Mr Meow-Meow therefore hacked – literally – the “Opal” stored value cards used to pay for public transport in the Australian state of New South Wales, extracting its NFC chip. A piercing specialist implanted the chip under his skin.

Transit officers took a dim view of Mr. Meow-Meow’s implant, fining him for travelling without a valid ticket and for not presenting his ticket when asked.

The matter ended up in court today, where Mr. Meow-Meow pled guilty, copped a AU$200 fine and wore $1,000 in costs.

The case was straightforward as the Terms of Use (PDF) for the Opal card states that users must “not misuse, deface, alter, tamper with or deliberately damage or destroy the Opal Card”. Mr. Meow-Meow had clearly tampered with and damaged the card.

Mr. Meow-Meow’s lawyer argued that the law had not kept pace with his client’s ideas, but magistrate Magistrate Margaret Quinn wasn’t swayed by that logic. A conviction was recorded on the riding without a valid ticket charge, but the not presenting a ticket charge was waived. ®




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