Everything's Bigger – and Stranger – in Texas

There are a lot of things you want to have if you're going into the computer service business: quality tools, generous liability coverage, a basic idea of how computers work. If you're planning to open up shop in Texas, though, you'll be needing something else: a private investigator's license.

According to reports, a freshly inked law in the Lonestar State now requires a private investigator's license in order to engage in computer repairs. The rather mind-boggling requirement apparently stems from technician's access to private information stored on the systems they repair. The state requires individuals who will have access to such information to obtain a criminal justice degree or complete a three-year apprenticeship as a prerequisite to licensure; a long list of conditions bar those with criminal records.

Failure to comply with the new law — which forces unlicensed shops to shut down until they can obtain a license — can land you a year's vacation to the big house and a $4,000 fine, along with up to $10,000 in civil penalties. Even worse, computer owners who allow an unlicensed tech to twiddle with their boxes will join their felonious Mr. Fixit in the clink and cough up the same cash. No word on the state's position towards DIY activities, but we're thinking it might be wise to hold off on installing that new hard drive until you've got a lawyer on staff...

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