Thursday, 10 January 2008

Texas P.I. FUD

The issue of PI Law for Digital Forensics in Tx is that people read the code in isolation.

Chapter 1702, Private Security, of the Texas Occupations Code does not mean that you need to have a PI license. It has exclusions. As an example, and being that I work for a Chartered Accounting firm (with a US office inTx) it is one I know well.

§1702.324. CERTAIN OCCUPATIONS states:

"(b) This chapter does not apply to: ...(6) a licensed engineer practicing engineering or directly supervising engineering practice under Chapter 1001, including forensic analysis, burglar alarm system engineering, and necessary data collection;...
(9) an attorney while engaged in the practice of law;
(10) a person who obtains a document for use in litigation under an authorization or subpoena issued for awritten or oral deposition;
(12) a person who on the person's own property or on property owned or managed by the person's employer:
(14) a person or firm licensed as an accountant or accounting firm under Chapter 901, an owner of an accounting firm, or an employee of an accountant or accounting firm while performing services regulated under Chapter 901;"

I limited this as I did not want to list them all.
Chapter 901, Accountants, of the Occupations Code covers BDO (and the other mid tiers), the Big 4, Mid Tier firms and the like.

I am also a professional engineer. A member of the IEEE and proud of it. This is also an exclusion under the code.

On top of this and what fits with the majority of people working as forensic analysts for court is that the exclusion "person who obtains a document for use in litigation under an authorization or subpoena issued for a written or oral deposition;" can be extrapolated to include CCE's and other that are operating under court orders.

Next, if you are working under the instruction of "an attorney while engaged in the practice of law", you are also excluded from this code. Most of us will be covered under one or more of these provisions and thus not need to be a PI. There is posturing and FUD that overrides the issue.

So if you see what I am saying now is not that you do not need to be licensed at all, but that you do not need to be a PI. A private investigator is not the ONLY licensed person able to do forensic work in Tx. A licensed Accountant, a licensed Engineer and many other professions all suffice. They are explictly excluded from chapter 1702 of the Tx occupations code.

I am not stating that the states can not license forensic collections, just that this (as some suggest) does not mean that it is restricted to only PI's. It includes ALL the occupations deemed acceptable. As an engineer, doing work for an accounting firm in the course of an engagement for a law firm I would have no issues at all not having a PI license.

Given a choice, I would (if I was not already one) become an engineer BEFORE thinking of being a PI (though to be honest I have my security diploma - but let the license lapse years ago).

I hope that this clears things up.

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