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Internet libertarians and Texas-haters are eagerly piling on a new Texas law that they claim requires all PC repair techs to obtain a private investigator's license. Infurating? Yes. True? Not really. The bill's author has spent the day sighing to reporters that the law amends existing occupations code by defining any vendor who performs investigate services on computer data to be a private investigator. Recovering your own hard drive data? No license required. Snooping your wife's email off her Mac? That's not tech support, it's private investigation. But don't let me stop you from railing against this Orwellian clusterfuck and its chilling effects and how goddammit, if we all carried firearms this never would have happened. The relevant section of the bill:

SECTION 4. Section 1702.104, Occupations Code, is amended to read as follows:

Sec. 1702.104. INVESTIGATIONS COMPANY. (a) A person acts as an investigations company for the purposes of this chapter if the person:


(1) engages in the business of obtaining or furnishing, or accepts employment to obtain or furnish, information related to:


(A) crime or wrongs done or threatened against a state or the United States;

(B) the identity, habits, business, occupation, knowledge, efficiency, loyalty, movement, location, affiliations, associations, transactions, acts, reputation, or character of a person;

(C) the location, disposition, or recovery of lost or stolen property; or

(D) the cause or responsibility for a fire, libel, loss, accident, damage, or injury to a person or to property;


(2) engages in the business of securing, or accepts employment to secure, evidence for use before a court, board, officer, or investigating committee;

(3) engages in the business of securing, or accepts employment to secure, the electronic tracking of the location of an individual or motor vehicle other than for criminal justice purposes by or on behalf of a governmental entity; or

(4) engages in the business of protecting, or accepts employment to protect, an individual from bodily harm through the use of a personal protection officer.


(b) For purposes of Subsection (a)(1), obtaining or furnishing information includes information obtained or furnished through the review and analysis of, and the investigation into the content of, computer-based data not available to the public.