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Opal card cyborg vows to fight for implant

Biohacker’s Opal hand implant cancelled.
Biohacker’s Opal hand implant cancelled.

THE body-hacking scientist who implanted an Opal card chip in his hand claims the NSW government has finally made good on threats to cancel his pass. But the defiant "biohacker" is preparing to fight the move in court.

Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow-Meow, which is his legal name, cut down the Opal chip, had it encased in biocompatible plastic and then implanted it just under the skin on his left hand by a piercing expert in April 2017.

His biohack made headlines around the world in the hours that followed the operation but Transport for NSW warned it would cancel cards that had been tampered with.

It took them less than a day to cancel Mr Meow-Meow's registered card but, because the chip under his skin was not linked to his name, the implanted chip remained active.

That came to an end at some point over the weekend when Mr Meow-Meow returned from Body Hacking Con in Texas to find his implant's card was not working.

"I was actually at a cyborg convention, which is kind of ironic and hilarious," he told AAP.

"It was all about regulation and cyborg rights."

 

Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow-Meow has an opal card chip inserted into his hand. Picture: ABC News
Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow-Meow has an opal card chip inserted into his hand. Picture: ABC News

Mr Meow-Meow said he tapped his hand at a ticket gate but was not let through. After calling a support line he claims he was given a "boring bureaucratic answer" and informed his card was cancelled.

"This is only a bloody story because they cancelled my card," he said. "How often do you see the words 'innovation' and 'public transport' in the same sentence in Sydney?"

He argues the implant represented a useful and innovative step forward, which the rest of the world would closely watch - and question the government's punitive stance.

Mr Meow-Meow is expected before a Sydney court on March 16 to contest a $200 fine he received last year for riding the train without a valid ticket. He has entered a plea of not guilty.

Mr Meow-Meow said he would then launch legal action against Transport for NSW for unlawfully cancelling his cards.

"This is case law in creation and it's fun to be at the centre of this," he said.

"This is a scenario so unusual that their lawyers never foresaw this happening because, if they did, they would have written it in there."

Numerous academics and reporters across the world have contacted Mr Meow-Meow, eager to see the outcome the landmark cases.

Mr Meow-Meow said he was willing to spend the ongoing legal fees to help create laws around the emerging technology - but is keen to hear from lawyers interested in being attached to nation's first cyborg rights case pro bono. Transport for NSW has been contacted for comment.

Topics:  nsw opal card


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