Florida Legislature Bans All Computers and Smart Phones (Accidentally, of Course)


Kevin Fox Flickr

Florida's famously dumb legislature just one-upped itself by banning all computers and smart phones, according to a lawsuite filed by the owner of an internet cafe "whose clientele is primarily migrant workers seeking computer time."

Consuelo Zapata says in her suit that a law passed in the wake of a gambling scandal involving Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll doesn't just forbid illegal computer gambling and slot machines, but all computers. Mary Ellen Klas of the Tampa Bay Times reports

The lawsuit filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court on behalf of Incredible Investments, LLC, owned by Consuelo Zapata, alleges that the Legislature effectively applied the ban to all computers when it defined illegal slot machines as any "system or network of devices" that may be used in a game of chance. The state effectively made every smartphone and computer an illegal device, the plaintiff argues.

"They rushed to judgment and they took what they saw as a very specific problem and essentially criminalized everything," said Justin Kaplan of the Miami law firm of Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine, which is representing Zapata.

The argument, crafted with the help of constitutional law attorney and Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz, is based on the assumption that the definition of illegal slot machines is now so broad that an illegal game could be potentially played on every computer. Under the law, the Legislature's own computers, "the ones they used to draft this legislation, are illegal," Kaplan said.

The case asks the court to throw out the law passed "in a frenzy fueled by distorted judgment in the wake of a scandal that included the lieutenant governor's resignation." It argues that the lawsuit unlawfully prohibits, commerce, violates free speech and due process and is overly broad and unworkably vague.

I also take this to mean that it's illegal to have an office intranet. 

Previously in Florida legislative stupidity: Florida Just Made It a Crime to Sell Bongs, Glass Pipes, Etc.

NEXT: More Than Half Think Corruption Has Worsened in the Last Two Years

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  1. The remedy will be, of course, selective enforcement.

    1. You never know when you might need to get PC to arrest some unruly citizen and lock him up for the rest of his life.

      1. Totality of the circs, anon. Totality of the circs. hth

  2. Or, they could pull the computers out of every police car.

    1. you are a peasant, Hat Tips are for the Gentry. Or people who have managed to be named in a lawsuit against Reason.

      1. HAI GAIS

        1. Ahh the good old days: MNG was annoying John, hmm and Warty were getting Reason sued, LoneWako was drooling in a puddle of his own urine. Where the time goes….

          1. These are great days we’re living, bros. We are jolly green giants walking the Earth. With guns.

            1. Fuck, how’d you get green?

              1. Not washing very often.

            2. This is my bro. It’s his birthday.

                1. I’m a combat correspondent.

                  1. Let me see your license.

    2. It must be doubly insulting when they don’t even wait until the next day to post about an article you linked to.

  3. It argues that the lawsuit unlawfully prohibits, commerce,

    Believe you need one less comma there. I think you can figure it out.

  4. according to a lawsuite filed

    A series of adjoining rooms occupied by attorneys?

    1. That or their legal library is really, really posh.

  5. If we outlaw computers, we won’t have any more cybercrime though!

  6. Policemen and former policemen will be exempt, though. Right?

    1. Yes, because police have receive special training in the use and care of computers.

  7. “It argues that the lawsuit unlawfully prohibits, commerce, violates free speech and due process and is overly broad and unworkably vague.”

    Ah, but the beauty of this law is that it *doesn’t* prohibit any of those things. it only prohibits *one form* of those things and, as the Supreme Court has ruled, as long as other options exist then its perfectly legal to restrict your exercise of rights.

    Plus, ‘overly broad’ is only an issue if its something the Supreme Court deems worthy of ‘strict scrutiny’, I’m sure that this is just worthy of ‘intermediate scrutiny’ at best and its not unworkably vague, its pretty explicit in what it forbids.

    If the Florida Supreme Court doesn’t uphold this, this democratically created law, this law that the people of Florida want and need, then I’m afraid the Florida Supreme Court will be destroying its reputation for decades, even generations to come.

    1. It is not explicit at all. Did you not read the article?

      1. He’s being sarcastic.

        1. Ah.

      2. No, it explicitly bans all networked devices that can be used for gambling.

        Unfortunately one of those ‘unforeseen consequences’ that keep biting legislatures in the arse is that it also bans pretty much all modern computing devices.

        I’m just pointing out the the USSC’s reasoning for upholding the no-fly list (that forbidding you from using *one* type of transportation but not others) can be used to uphold *this* legislation, as it only forbids *one* type of communication.

        And there was the snarky bit at the end where I make fun of Obama for insisting that the court must rule in his favor to ‘preserve their reputation’.

        1. Any court that doesn’t rule in favor of the administration is racist, straight up.

          1. Paula Abdul agrees

            1. Straight up, now tell me, don’t you wanna love Obama forever . . .

    1. yeah, that’s already been posted, like, a month ago.

      1. Yeah well, your mom was posted, like, a month ago.

        1. Yeah, well – YOUR MOM!

    2. Living the dream, baby, living the dream.

    3. What happened to that Macafee dude, anyways? He and Snowden roommates yet?

      1. Charges were dropped.

  8. Lawsuite? Please correct this, I would like to link this to my google+ account but that’s a particularly embarrassing typo.

    1. Well, ANYTHNG for the great birdman.

  9. I made a stop today after chasing down a teenager running with a computer. based on my experience, mostly information I learned in the weight room, this will be a good law supported by court decisions in the future. a lawyer friend told me. you have to look at the totality of the fact pattern. cops just carry out the laws the legislature passes. so it will be a good arrest, and a legitimate use of force if required. in the future. cause derp. hth

    1. you have to look at the totality of the fact pattern.

      Why are you so racist?

  10. the beauty of this law is that it *doesn’t* prohibit any of those things. it only prohibits *one form* of those things and, as the Supreme Court has ruled, as long as other options exist then its perfectly legal to restrict your exercise of rights.

    Exactly. As long as you can return from Portugal in a rowboat, you have no standing to protest your inclusion on the no-fly list.

  11. Now that Florida has banned computers, perhaps they can look to a federal agency for guidance on their subsequent destruction:

    The Economic Development Administration (EDA) is an agency in the Department of Commerce that promotes economic development in regions of the US suffering low growth, low employment, and other economic problems. In December 2011, the Department of Homeland Security notified both the EDA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that there was a potential malware infection within the two agencies’ systems…..

    …..EDA’s CIO, fearing that the agency was under attack from a nation-state, insisted instead on a policy of physical destruction. The EDA destroyed not only (uninfected) desktop computers but also printers, cameras, keyboards, and even mice. The destruction only stopped?sparing $3 million of equipment?because the agency had run out of money to pay for destroying the hardware.


    1. Hey, where’s your hattip to Suderman for posting this 3 hours ago?!

      1. Derp.

        Late as always. Just noticed the post now.

        1. Can I blame it on inability to scroll down the page due to a freshly destroyed mouse?

          1. No, but you can blame it on the unwillingness to read everything before you jump in and post.

            No-one can complain about the stuff everyone does.

  12. Don’t most cops have a laptop in their car, or carry a phone?

    Time to start making some citizen arrests, Floridians. Arrest every member of the legislature with a phone too. Make sure to leave your phone at home.

    1. I mean, the law is the law.

      They can get their fair hearing later on. There must be a least one old coot left who doesn’t have a phone, it might take him a while to have all those bail hearings. So get to it.

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