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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Fix A Computer, Go To Jail

by Christopher Gibson (writer), the burbs..., July 02, 2008

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An obscure, ambiguous new Texas law is putting computer professionals at risk for fines or even jail time.

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.



About the Writer

Christopher Gibson is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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6 comments on Fix A Computer, Go To Jail

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By D. E. Carson on July 04, 2008 at 12:32 pm

You see what happens when liberals are allowed to vote?  Talk about stupid!  I thought Ann Richards was dead already but it seems her ghost is alive and well in Austin.  Texas needs to be put on probation for that one.  "Repeal it or you're out of the USA!"

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By TCBlair on July 04, 2008 at 02:31 pm

I love Texas through and through.  My white blood cells are actually in the shape of our beloved Lone Star.  I even have the Texas capitol building tattooed on my ass (not really but seriously... I got em...).  So I have complete faith in my beloved state/republic to burn the papers this law was written on. 

But just in case... fingers crossed...

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By Ladymaggic on July 05, 2008 at 10:40 pm

Interesting...

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By jessicalore on July 11, 2009 at 04:42 am

I don't know but somehow or by destiny or something, I found this article. I think is very very interesting and scary.  The most thing that I don't like is that I just started working on this Houston computer repair company, as a in house tech level support 1, and honestly the only thing I can think is that I don't want to be a computer tech anymore. Does anyone knows what happend whit this law and what is the update on this?

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By Greene on September 17, 2010 at 07:48 pm

Another crazy requirement/law!

My story is: It’s a common enough occurrence in today’s modern world. One morning, you wake up and say to yourself, “Damn, I need some wi-fi in this joint.” I felt very strongly that it was time to have the “surfing on the laptop while drinking Margaritas on the patio” option here at the house.

The next step—purchase of the router and its installation. Here, often, is where simple good intentions bog down. The router installation proves, to put it mildly, tricky. Time to call the professionals. One look in the Yellow Pages shows that many folks out there have figured out there’s a living to be made by making computer house calls. Not just geek squads, but nerd squads, dweeb squads, freek squads and even semi-normal people squads. Aplenty.

I called one of those traveling techno-doctors, and within three hours, my man Ryan showed up ready to get me over the router hump. Predictably, the job proves quite simple, solvable and do-able. Yes! Time to stock up on the marg mix. Ryan fixed up the router and got it all good in about 20 minutes, and he then said he should really do a cleanup of my desktop, suspecting that it’s riddled with bad junk and toxic funk. I suspected he’s absolutely right, and gave him the green light to proceed, thinking my desktop is currently home to more viruses than a CDC floor mop.

The clean-up took, but bore fruit. Lots of fruit. Fruit that was blown up, dumped and mangled by Ryan’s various junk-hunting programs. Cyber-melons of digital villainy planted by strange pasty-faced cretins in far off countries, melons that were thrown off the top floor of my virtual building, splattering into juicy mush upon collision with the virtual street below. Go get ’em, Ryan. Kick ass, brother.

For his finale, Ryan inserted a disc with his special hunting program, software that tracks down the deepest, nastiest parasites in the bowels of my hard drive. After a few minutes, I asked how it was going in there, “there” being the guts of my plague-packing desktop. “Not so good,” declared Ryan. “The program that was gonna find your Big Bug and kill it off just got killed. By the Bug itself.” Uh-oh. The hunter becomes the hunted. Who knew what drama lurked in the dangerous backstreets of my circuitries?

“Tell you what,” continued Ryan, as he retrieved his disc from my Dark Machine. “Get all your stuff on this computer backed up on a storage unit. Then disconnect it, unplug it, and set it in your closet somewhere. Maybe even take it out to the garage. Put it some place where the next person who sees it is an archeologist. What you have here is basically a boat anchor. Or something to set on your hot tub cover to make sure it doesn’t blow away in the next windstorm. Are you feelin’ me here?”

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By Hipolita88 on July 01, 2014 at 01:48 am

That seems to be superb 5materace.com

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