Biohacker Who Implanted Chip in Hand Averts Fine in Australia

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Australian biohacker Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow-Meow - Source: FB

Australian biohacker Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow-Meow, co-founder of Bio Foundry, has made himself into a real-life cyborg (and yes, that’s his complete legal name).

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Australian biohacker Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow-Meow – Source: FB

In April 2017, Meow-Meow implanted a chip in his hand. The chip is from his Opal card, needed to ride mass transit in Sydney, and it basically operates as a debit card– users add money to it, then whenever they use a train, bus, or other transport service, they swipe their card to pay the charge.

Thanks to his new implant, Meow-Meow no longer needed to stress over losing his card. The biohacker could simply put his hand near the Opal card reader and be on his way.

All this was presumably working out OK for Meow-Meow up until August 2017 That’s when the New South Wales transportation authority, which provides the Opal cards, charged him with taking a trip without a ticket and failing to produce a ticket for transportation authorities.

In March, Meow-Meow pled guilty to the charges, however argued that he should not need 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 costs.

 

Not pleased with that result, Meow-Meow appealed the decision in the District Court. This week, judge Dina Yehia released her judgment, reversing the conviction and saving Meow-Meow from that A$220 fine. Nevertheless, the biohacker will still have to cover the legal costs.

According to ABC News, Yehia based her decision on a number of factors, including:

  • Meow-Meow didn’t have any previous convictions.
  • He did pay for his ticket and wasn’t attempting to avoid paying Opal.
  • The crime wasn’t all that severe.

Meow-Meow appears pleased with the result. “I’ll have to pay expenses … but won the ethical victory,” he composed in a Facebook post “Cyborg justice has been served.”

It is difficult to state exactly what sort of precedent this court judgment may set. Meow-Meow did breach Opal’s terms of use, which states users can not ” misuse, alter, deface, tamper with, or deliberately damage or destroy the Opal Card.” Nevertheless, he firmly insists the law is the problem — it has to catch up with today’s technology.

Meow-Meow’s “ethical victory” may accelerate that process. NSW Transportation Minister Andrew Constance informed ABC News the government would continue to review its transportation policies, and maybe the next update will take into consideration the case of the chip-wielding cyborg with that really odd name.