Blogs » Digital Babble » PC techs in Texas required to obtain P.I. licenses?

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Image Over the last two weeks there has been much controversy in the tech world over a supposed law that requires every computer repair technician to obtain a private investigator's license. Technicians would need to obtain a criminal justice degree or participate in a three-year apprenticeship. Violators can face a $4,000 fine and one year in jail,and a $10,000 civil penalty.

The newly formed Institute for Justice Texas Chapter claimed the law unconstitutional, and has filed a lawsuit against the Texas Private Security Board.

However, according to Joe Driver, R-Garland, the author of House Bill 2833, many are misinterpreting his law.

From TechBlog (a Houston chronicle blog):

"Driver said a lawsuit filed for the computer technicians last week in Travis County district court by the Institute for Justice Texas Chapter was nothing more than a publicity stunt intended to bring attention to a new advocacy organization.

The law says anyone who retrieves data from a computer, analyzes it and makes a report to a third party must obtain a private investigator's license.

...

Institute for Justice attorney Matt Miller said the law does not apply to hardware repair. But he said he believes it would apply to anyone who is hired by a parent who wants to know what Web sites their child is visiting or to a technician hired by a company to explore employee use of computers at work.

Driver said a technician who is doing nothing more than retrieving data from a crashed hard drive would not be affected by the law. He said it would only apply to people who dig deeply into the data and analyze it to get "deep into people's personal lives."

A hearing has not been set yet for the lawsuit.

Links to coverage on this issue:

KVUE.com - Austin: Computer technicians cry foul over private investigator law

Dallas News.com: Repair computers in Texas? You might be breaking the law.

Houston Chronicle.com: Data-retrieval law has computer techs under the gun

Austin American-Statesman: Group says computer techs shouldn't need investigator licenses

Until this whole issue gets resolved, I will have to decline all personal requests to repair computers. Yeah, that's a good reason. Has nothing to do with the fact that the last time I agreed to fix a friend's computer it sat under my coffee table for 3 months table before I remembered I had it. On the other hand, tower PC's make for great footstools in a pinch.

Anyway, if you need help you can always call this guy: click here.