Sydney 'bio-hacker' with Opal card implant pleads guilty to fare evasion

Sydney 'bio-hacker' with Opal card implant pleads guilty to fare evasion

Offshore Technology International -
A Sydney scientist who surgically implanted an Opal chip in his hand will not give up biohacking after pleading guilty to fare evasion on a train.

Geneticist Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow-Meow modified an Opal card and inserted it into a small pocket between the fat and skin layer of his hand for convenience.

He pleaded guilty in Newtown Local Court on Friday to attempting to travel without a ticket and not showing a ticket for inspection.

The penalties were issued in August 2017 despite Mr Meow-Meow's hand implant returning a 'valid tap-on' to the inspector's Opal reader app on her mobile.

The 34-year-old was convicted, fined $220 and ordered to pay costs of $1000 for attempting to travel without a ticket.

But no conviction was recorded for his failure to produce a valid ticket.

Mr Meow-Meow said he respected the Magistrate's decision, but was disappointed by the outcome and will consider appealing.

'I think my lawyer said it pretty well when he said this is a case where the law hasn't kept up with the technology,' he told SBS News.

Since being fined, Transport NSW has made changes to allow passengers to use their credit card or smart phones.

Mr Meow-Meow believes that move will allow him to use a new implant which contains personal information such as his credit card details.

'By the end of the year I'll be riding legally with this implanted or something similar.'

Loses in court, but wins public support

Mr Meow-Meow may have lost his court battle, but he said the case had raised awareness about biohackers and implantee rights.

He's been buoyed by the response to his fight against Transport NSW.

'A lot of the comments go along the lines of 'If he's paying for his fare why do we care?' he said.

His approach has generated much discussion about innovation and new technology.

'My friend said that she was at the post office today and a primary school aged kid was talking to their parents about a debate they were going to have in class about emerging technology and was discussing my case with their mother,' he said.

'It actually doesn't matter whether I win or lose really, it matters that we move narrative into a direction that is of benefit for people and innovation and technology.'

Mr Meow-Meow is confident the law will catch up eventually.

'I'd like to see something where you can just walk onto a train and walk off and it automatically knows what you want. I'm a big fan of technology that does things without you having to instruct it.'

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