Melb Tram Cops Allegedly Made Foreign Student Show Them Her Bank Details

Jesus Christ, this is a new low. According to a Melbourne teacher who witnessed some serious bullshit over the weekend, ticket inspectors are now allegedly making people log into their banking apps in order to prove their identity.

Rob Corr, who also happens to be a lawyer, intervened in an incident outside RMIT on Sunday afternoon, during which he overheard a ticket inspector ask a young woman who she banked with. 
He told ABC Radio this morning:

“I thought that was a little bit unusual, and I said to her, ‘You don’t have to tell him who you bank with,’ and he got a little bit pushy with me and said he wasn’t going to continue until I’d moved away.”
The woman, who Corr thought was in her early 20s, didn’t speak a lot of English, and her friend was helping to translate what was going on. 
“The inspector was trying to talk to her about her bank account and he told me to move on, and said he wouldn’t continue until I left. I said that was fine, I could wait. There was a bit of a stand-off.

“And then his colleague said that I wasn’t allowed to listen because of the Privacy Act. I’m also a lawyer as well as a teacher – the Privacy Act has no relevance to this.”
Corr raised the very good point of why, exactly, a ticket inspector would need to access a passenger’s banking app, saying that the bloke allegedly took the young woman’s phone, scrolled through until he found the app, and then made her log in. 
When Corr asked what he was doing, the inspector allegedly said he was “just trying to get her to confirm her name and address.”
If this incident actually occurred, it is an astonishing abuse of power on behalf of Public Transport Victoria, particularly considering that they appeared to have intentionally targeted someone who didn’t speak English fluently. According to Corr, the young woman said afterwards that she had been afraid that her visa would be cancelled; causing someone that kind of stress and trauma is frankly cruel. 

A spokesperson for Public Transport Victoria spoke to the Herald Sun about the incident, saying:
“You’d hope the authorities are most focused on those who deliberately dodge fares and not those who were just confused about the system.”
Have a listen to the full radio story here, and you can familiarise yourself with the Victorian privacy laws here. For the record: listening to anyone have a conversation in public is not against the law. Intimidating someone into showing you their bank account is, on the other hand, extremely fucking dodgy.
Source: Herald Sun.
Image: Getty / Robert Cianflone.