Florida bans computers

The on-the-ball lawmakers of Florida appear to have accidently banned all computers from the state in one of the poorest cases of knee-jerk reaction seen in US politics.

According to Yahoo news, it all started when one of its leading politicians, Florida Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll became embroiled in an internet gambling scandal.

A charity which she was connected with was shut down on suspicion of being an Internet gambling front. Carroll resigned but her colleges wanted to make sure that no one could ever gamble on the internet ever again.

They wrote a law which was designed to shut down all Internet cafes in the state. After all if you go to an internet café, you can gamble online.

However, the wording of the law did more than shut down internet cafes. It was so broad that it effectively banned the use of all computers and smartphones in Florida.

The bill, which was signed into law by Florida governor Rick Scott in April, succeeded in getting 1,000 cafes immediately closed in a Chinese style crackdown.

But the problem was that it defined a gambling slot machine as “any machine or device or system or network of devices” that can be used in games of chance.

Given that almost every computer can play poker, that makes all of them illegal.

Consuelo Zapata, owner of the Miami-Dade county internet cafe Incredible Investments is suing the state to overturn the ban, saying that the definition is too broad and could be applied to any number of electronic devices.

This means that Florida is likely to win the TechEye “most stupid IT law bought in by a brain dead politican” award against some pretty stiff competition.

Arizona updated its telecommunications harassment bill to target cyberbullies but made it illegal to troll someone on a message board. Meanwhile, New York tried to ban anonymous online comments.

If the law is allowed to stand, it will mean that every computer, smartphone, smart TV, games console will have to be shipped out of the state just in case it could be used for gambling. It would turn Florida into a place which could be very popular with the Amish but few others. Still, at least they will not be gambling.