A 34-year-old man who considers himself to be a “cyborg” was fined by the Australian government for failing to present his travel card to authorities. He was unable to produce the card because he had implanted it in his hand, Sky News reported.
The man, who is legally named Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow-Meow, was confronted by an inspector while riding on the Sydney Trains system and was asked to produce his travel card. When he was unable to do so, he was hit with a fine.
In 2017, Meow-Meow took the Near Field Communication (NFC) chip from his Opal travel card—which is used to get around on Sydney’s mass transportation—and had it implanted under his skin by a piercing expert.
The chip, coated in a biocompatible plastic material to prevent it from doing harm to the body, functions just as it would in the card. Meow-Meow is able to place his hand over a card reader and it produces his information, same as if a travel card was scanned.
Unfortunately for Meow-Meow, the NFC chip alone was not enough to satisfy inspectors. Despite the fact that his implant successfully scanned and a ticket inspector seemed impressed by the implant— reportedly saying, “Wow, that’s crazy” when the reader recognized the implanted chip—Meow-Meow was still fined for failing to provide an actual travel card.
The self-titled “cyborg” plead guilty to the charge that he was unable to produce his Opal card and was fined A$220 (about $149 USD) for the crime. Meow-Meow was also ordered to pay A$1,000 ($682) for attempting to travel without a ticket.
“New technology can be scary if you don’t understand it,” Meow-Meow told reporters, according to the Guardian. “People have been scared of lots of technologies when they come along.”
Biometric implants are becoming increasingly popular. Do-it-yourself bio-hackers like Meow-Meow have inserted microchips in their bodies that can be used for a wide variety of tasks, from replacing key cards to making payments. Last year, a company in River Falls, Wisconsin, grabbed headlines when it offered its employees a biometric implant.