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Saturday, 30 March, 2002, 09:45 GMT
'Cyborg' sues airline
Steve Mann
Cyborgs have rights too says Professor Mann
Air Canada is being sued by a 'cyborg' in the first case of its kind.

Professor Steve Mann, from the University of Toronto, has worn a computer system for the past 20 years and is furious about the treatment he received when he attempted to board an Air Canada flight in Newfoundland.

The self-proclaimed cyborg was prevented from boarding a flight after the airline lost the documents he sent in advance warning them of his unusual taste in fashion.

Mr Mann was delayed for three days and subjected to a humiliating strip search.

Painful experience

His equipment, including computerised glasses which connect him to the internet 24 hours a day, was damaged during the search.

A computerised heart monitor that Mr Mann has attached to his skin was removed, leaving him bleeding.

"It was a painful experience," said Mr Mann.

Now Mr Mann is suing the airline for negligence and damage to his computer system.

"I tried to contact them but they failed to respond so it appears necessary to get my lawyer involved," he said.

Cyborg rights

Mr Mann believes that his status as a cyborg should be treated in the same way as anyone else with special equipment such as wheelchairs.

Robin Bynoe, a lawyer with law firm Charles Russell, is not so sure.

"It will come down to the terms and conditions that the airline has," he said.

"Airlines are often dinosaurs technologically and a sophisticated computer system could interfere with its electronics. There is no constitutional right to fly," he said.

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