I wrote a few weeks ago about a new law that would require Texas computer repair shops to get private investigator’s licenses in order to do many types of computer work. While no one has been prosecuted under this new rule, the first “victim” of the Texas Private Security Bureau might come sooner than we think.

Professional locksmiths also require licenses from the Texas Private Security Bureau (a division of the Texas Department of Public Safety). There are still many unlicensed locksmiths out there, and the DPS is having none of it. They are proud to have been running sting operations against locksmiths to find, arrest, and fine unlicensed locksmiths.

The DPS will call out a locksmith for a spurious claim, have them perform the work, then ask to see their license. If the locksmith cannot produce his license, then he is arrested and fined by the DPS officers standing by. A local paper has an article about such a sting operation here, towards the bottom of the page. Similar stings have been occurring in California as well.

The Texas Locksmiths Association put out this PDF newsletter with the following feathers in its hat.

In Houston this past May, the DPS put together a sting operation targeting locksmiths who were defrauding the public. This operation took months of work to put together with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office calling most of the shots. The outcome was: two people were jailed, one of the two was deported and three others had their ID checked but were let go. I hope this company and any others like them will get the picture that Texas is no place to defraud the public.

Your tax dollars at work, folks. “Defrauding the public” is one thing, and failure to comply with a complex and expensive licensing scheme is another. Hardworking, honest professionals are having their livelihoods taken away for not following, or simply being unaware of, this draconian licensing requirement.

These kinds of sting operations may come all too soon to the “unlicensed” computer repair businesses of Texas. Imagine being called out to clean a virus, or report on the surfing habits of a company’s employee and leaving the office in handcuffs. This is the reality that PC techs may face in the future if something is not done to rein in the Texas Private Security Bureau.