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Her iPhone Died. It Led To Her Being Charged As a Criminal

Chris Matyszczyk from ZDNet retells the draconian story of a Financial Times writer who wasn’t able to prove she purchased a ticket for the London buses because her phone died (she used Apple Pay), which led to her being charged a criminal. An anonymous reader shares an excerpt from the report:

Today’s witness is Jemima Kelly. She’s a writer for The Financial Times. Please don’t let any personal thoughts about that get in the way of her story. You see, she just experienced a little technological nightmare. A cheery digital convert, she admits she often leaves the house without her wallet. But surely not without her iPhone. Apple Pay is, after all, a contemporary joy. It’s right up there with Tinder in its ability to make your life easier.

Kelly, indeed, hops on London buses and uses Apple Pay to tap her payment instead of buying a ticket the old-fashioned way. Which, as she cheerily described, is easy unless a ticket inspector wanders by. Just after your iPhone’s battery has died. She couldn’t prove that she’d paid, but gave her personal details and assumed there’d be a record of her probity on the transportation company’s computers. But then she was charged with, well, not providing proof of payment. Charged as in would be forced to go to court and to plead guilty or not guilty within 21 days. Here’s where things got (more) awkward. Kelly produced a bank statement that proved she’d paid. The transportation company — Transport For London — insisted this wasn’t enough.

It seems she’d failed another digital task — registering her Apple Pay with Transport For London. She was edging ever closer to criminal status. But did her Apple Pay details need to be registered? Kelly revealed: “They told me, ‘there is no requirement for cards to be registered, the same as paying for any goods and services in a shop’. But it’s not the same, actually; in a shop, you are given a breakdown in the form of a receipt.” So, here she was, contactless and receiptless. Next, she heard that her court case had happened and she’d been found guilty. Oh, and she also owed a fine of around $592.
In the end, Kelly managed to get back to court and persuade the judge to void her conviction, but the process took months.

“Her story, however, aptly describes how the digital world demands our complete and unyielding participation,” writes Matyszczyk. “Digital systems are designed by those who strive for complete perfection and consistency. Which doesn’t describe the human condition at all.” Do you think digitizing everything is a good thing?