Well I now have the perfect excuse to give someone when I don’t want to fix their computer. I don’t want to go to jail. That’s right, I could go to jail for fixing your computer.
Why could I go to jail for fixing your computer you may ask? I’ll tell you why. Because I am not a licensed Private Investigator. (Go ahead dear reader, scratch your head and say “What the…?”) Now what in the hell does being a licensed Private Investigator have to do with computer repair? That my friends, is a very good question. A question which is being asked by computer professionals all over Texas.
It seems that an ambiguous new law, H.B. 2833, was enacted by the Texas Legislature last year. Passed by the Texas Private Security Bureau with heavy lobbying by Private Investigator interests, this new law states in a nutshell that in order to conduct any type of repair or take any type of action that could be deemed as an “investigation”, a computer technician must be a licensed Private Investigator. Any technician that wants to act as a scofflaw and ignore this new piece of legislative garbage faces up to a year in jail and fines up to $4,000, including civil penalties of up to $10,000.
I know what you’re thinking. Well, Mr. Technician, that must suck for you. But what do I care if you go to jail or get fined for working on my computer. You should care, Mr. or Mrs. Consumer, because according to this new law, you as a consumer are subject to the same stiff penalties for having your computer repaired by a non Private Investigator technician. Now, how do you like them apples?
Want to know where your kids have been surfing online? Want to rummage thru your spouse’s email to see if they are cheating on you? Want to figure out who’s sending you all those stupid email jokes? Don’t bring your computer to me or any other technician that’s not a licensed P.I., because in order for us to figure that out for you we would have to conduct an “investigation”.
Thankfully this legislation is already being challenged in the Texas courts. David Norelid, co-owner of Citronix Tech Services here in Houston, along with a couple of other plaintiffs, have teamed up with the Institute for Justice Texas Chapter to file a lawsuit against the Private Security Board on behalf of Texas repair companies and their customers. You can read all about the lawsuit here on the Institute for Justice’s web page, or here on David Norelid’s blog.
I have faith that in the end, common sense will prevail and this sorry excuse for a law will either be amended, or appealed totally and order will be restored. But until then, be wary of who fixes your computer for you, and No, I still won’t fix your computer.