Texas PC repair now requires PI license!
This is rather unbelievable - unfortunately, it's not a joke...
The Texas legislature has decided that computer repair folks need a government-issued PI (Private Investigator) license when performing what the state calls "an investigation." If a computer repair person is analyzing data on a customer's computer, this would fall under "an investigation", and without a PI license he or she could face up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine. Additionally, any customer knowingly enlisting an unlicensed repair person's help is subject to the same fines.
Unless the repair is purely hardware-related (a blown PSU, for example), even looking at error logs could be (and if the Texas Private Security Board has its way, will and/or already is) interpreted as "an investigation", and the fines will apply. I have not yet received a notice from the TPSB (I have a registered computer repair business in Texas); a small number of my competitors has been informed by the TPSB that they need to either stop doing computer repair, or shut down their business until they have acquired the necessary licenses. To get the license, one needs either a criminal justice degree or complete a three-year apprenticeship under a licensed PI.
I'm all for regulating an industry (currently, computer repair folks in the US do not need any kind of certification or license, making it one of the few professional sectors that don't), but this is a bridge too far. Maybe they'll also start requiring car repair people to be licensed PI's? After all, a car contains "private data" (odometer readings, for example), and working on it may be constituted as "performing an investigation"...
The Texas State Bill in question
Institute for Justice case description