General discussion

Locked

PI License required to repair computers

By chief6226 ·
See http://www.ij.org/first_amendment/tx_computer_repair/6_26_08pr.html

Texas lawyers and PI's are trying to jack with the average computer tech. Texas law requires a PI license to repair computers. Is this another round of specialization? What is your take on this???
Bill

This conversation is currently closed to new comments.

3 total posts (Page 1 of 1)  
| Thread display: Collapse - | Expand +

All Comments

Collapse -

This will be interesting to follow

by Tig2 In reply to PI License required to re ...

http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/techofalltrades/?p=162

Check out the comments to the original article and tell TR what you think!

Collapse -

more PI license in Texas for computer repair

by chief6226 In reply to PI License required to re ...

Texas Private Investigators continue trying to cut out a niche for computer repair. Here we go again.

http://www.ij.org:80/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2438&Itemid=129

Collapse -

Another wrinkle to the PI Forensic Law in Texas

by chief6226 In reply to more PI license in Texas ...

E-Discovery Forensics: Private Investigator License for Computer Data Collection and Assessment?
Red Light Traffic Camera Records Challenged in Civil Lawsuit

Do the collection and evaluation of electronic records for use in court require a professional license? In litigation a mistake on this question can surprisingly cause a party to lose a lawsuit.

A Texas judge ruled the company operating a red-light enforcement camera (Affiliated Computer Services (ACS)) was acting illegally because it did not have a private investigator license. As the operator of the system, the company was involved in collecting and evaluating electronic records for the purpose of presenting findings in court. This case has spawned an uproar statewide, where motorists (such as Jim Ash, citizen of College Station, Texas) are challenging traffic tickets, demanding repayment of fines they?ve paid and complaining about police and politicians who support automated (robo-cop) traffic enforcement.

In effect, motorists are arguing the digital evidence against them should be thrown out of court because it was managed by an investigator who should have been licensed but was not.

The controversy in Texas is an unintended consequence of recent legislation compelling computer forensics experts get licensed as private investigators

under state regulation. Last year the legislature amended the Texas Occupation Code so that Section 1702.104 now reads: "(a) A person acts as an investigations company [which must be licensed] if the person: (1) engages in the business of obtaining or furnishing, or accepts employment to obtain or furnish, information related to . . . the cause or responsibility for . . . loss, accident, damage, or injury to a person or to property. . . . (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."

In our digital age, this is broad language that might be read to cover data collection and evaluation activities unexpectedly. It might cover activities not only in criminal investigations, but also in civil lawsuits like bankruptcies and failed business deals. In Texas the traffic violations in red-light camera cases are often civil law matters, not criminal law.

When the Texas legislature amended the Occupation Code, I'm sure it did not realize it might be forcing local state governments (like the municipality of College Station) to return millions of dollars in revenue from run-of-the-mill, civil law traffic tickets.

On its face, it is unclear whether Section 1702.104 covers the mere searching for and collection of computer data, as distinguished from the review/evaluation/assessment of its content.

The computer (IT) forensics profession argues that a broad understanding of private investigator (PI) licensure is unwise. In August 2008 the profession persuaded the American Bar Association to pass Resolution 301 urging lawmakers to ?refrain from requiring private investigator licenses for persons engaged in:

* computer or digital forensic services or in the acquisition, review, or analysis of digital or computer-based information, whether for purposes of obtaining or furnishing information for evidentiary or other purposes, or for providing expert testimony before a court; or

* network or system vulnerability testing, including network scans and risk assessment and analysis of computers connected to a network.?

The ABA argues that computer forensics is a separate profession from private investigation and should be treated differently.

Details of the controversy between these two professions vary from state to state. E-discovery professionals should know the PI licensure laws and regulations of the states in which they work.

?Benjamin Wright

Back to Desktop Forum
3 total posts (Page 1 of 1)  

Related Discussions

Related Forums