back to article 'Bio-hacker' embeds public transport ticket under his skin

Killjoys at the public transport authority in the Australian State of New South Wales are warning users of stored-value-for-public-transport "Opal Card" that turning them into implants invalidates the card. One of the most persistently stupid ideas in the world of “bio-hacking”, dropping a chip under the skin for convenience, …

  1. notowenwilson

    Meow that's just ridiculous.

    1. jake Silver badge

      It's got a nice beat.

      I could meow to it.

  2. MrDamage Silver badge

    wasted opportunity

    If you're going to get a chip of that size (approx 10x6mm), surely the place to get it is under the nail of your middle finger.

    You can express your opinion of ticket inspectors at the same time as showing you are right to travel.

    1. frank ly

      Re: wasted opportunity

      Right ..... one of the most sensitive places of your body, a great place to cut into and insert a foreign object.

      1. FozzyBear

        Re: wasted opportunity

        Perhaps, but considering the attitude of most transport officers, they seem to a stick up their arse the size of a 10-foot pole.

        1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

          Re: wasted opportunity

          Perhaps, but considering the attitude of most transport officers, they seem to a stick up their arse the size of a 10-foot pole.

          Considering the shit they have to deal with, especially in Australia, I'm not at all surprised that some of them are humourless.

        2. GrumpyOldBloke

          Re: wasted opportunity

          That is because the transport offices are for the most part a perversion of the law. Rather than targeting the guilty their job is to force the commuter to continually prove their innocence. Law the Australian way. Travel to Japan and see how a mature nation handles this problem.

  3. Shugyosha

    Ah, bless

    From the ABC article:

    "He is able to use the Opal just like other users, including topping the card up on his smartphone."

    Well, yeah, because the smartphone app just updates his account on the Opal servers via his 4G connection - it's not making an NFC connection with the chip.

    I can understand his reasoning. No doubt he tired of losing his card due to the daily kickings he's no doubt on the receiving end of.

    I fear for the day he is rudely awakened from his Neal Stephenson-esque cyberpunk existence, when he gets on a rickety STA bus, has to stand because the only free seats are wet due to a leaking roof/windows, and can't tap on because the Opal system is down, indicated by a hi-tech plastic Coles bag placed over the reader.

  4. Elmer Phud


    My card has just lost its ability to 'touch and go'.

    I need to replace it.

    at least I won't need a scalpel

  5. Dazzz
    Big Brother

    Easy fix

    Surely he could duct tape the card to his forehead, problem solved...

    1. Halfmad

      Re: Easy fix

      Or sown it into the cuff of a jacket he regularly wears etc.

      Clothing in general with little zip pockets near the cuffs would be ideal for this sort of thing.


  6. bluesxman

    Surprised Captain Cyborg hasn't been dug up for comment.

  7. GrumpyOldBloke

    Australia, the authoritarian dystopia where agile and innovative is the slogan of the day but everything is illegal.

    1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Not illegal, just a violation of the user agreement.

      Transport authorities understandably take a dim view of people hacking their infrastructure, no matter at what level...

      1. GrumpyOldBloke

        Hacking is an emotive term. He has made no attempt to operate the card outside of his own individual account or in ways that are foreign to the card readers nor is he attempting to evade the fare. He has merely changed the container of the active part of the card. There may be a lot of value in the market for this operation or others that shift the active part of the opal card into more convenient, containers like phones, key rings, watches and bracelets - but we don't do that here. Agile and innovative is lost behind authoritarian and inflexible. Yes, he is outside the terms of the user agreement but how many of us had a say in the drafting of that agreement or are we simply forced to acknowledge it as part of using a public utility that we all own and paid for. It took Uber to force the governments hand on taxi regulation. This will be similarly painful until it becomes such a political embarrassment that the ministers will look away from their donors long enough to meet their obligations to the general public and then we will move forward another inch.

        1. Monty Cantsin

          "Hacking is an emotive term"

          I think, given that the card had to be cut up for this to work, the term is used in one of its original senses

          hack [Verb]

          1. Cut with rough or heavy blows.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Emotive Subject^WTitle

            I'm fairly certain that hack was used in the hackish sense.

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. Francis Boyle Silver badge


    All technology needs to be frictionless. Unfortunately my plan for frictionless cybersex has been met with complete indifference.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Frictionless

      Francis, I think the indifference is because your concept is a work of speculative friction. But don't despair, with modern social media, you could probably slide it into the minds of the GreatUnwashed ... but don't go too far and make it into a religion! The last thing the world needs today is yet another example of bad Zions Friction.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Frictionless

        Nice one, Jake - channelling the 'man from mars' but making more sense

  10. David Roberts

    Simple explanation?

    IIRC the ticket inspectors (been to Sydney, bought an Opal card, used it loads) check that your card is valid by looking at it.

    There are some special cards including those for pensioners which give cheaper travel. You have to have a valid gold card to use one though.

    Perhaps they don't carry scanners to ID the chip?

    Perhaps the physical card has anti-fraud measures built in?

    Perhaps I'm just confusing it with the pre-Opal system?

  11. Myvekk

    They did indeed cancel the card on his account.

    Unfortunately the one in his hand was an unregistered one and they cannot cancel it, since they have no idea which one it is. He just has to go to a machine to top it up.

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