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Florida Law May Accidentally Ban Computers and Smartphones 238

Posted by Soulskill
from the language-should-not-be-wielded-like-a-blunt-instrument dept.
GrueMaster writes "Did Florida ban computers and smartphones? They tried banning Internet Cafes, but the wording in the law is overly broad. '... it's the wording that's problematic, as it defines a slot machine as "any machine or device or system or network of devices" that can be used in games of chance. Turns out the Internet is full of gambling sites, which is where the definition runs into some problems. Consuelo Zapata, owner of the Miami-Dade county Internet cafe Incredible Investments, LLC, is suing the state (PDF) to overturn the ban, saying that definition is too broad and could be applied to any number of electronic devices. "
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Florida Law May Accidentally Ban Computers and Smartphones

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    fuck Rick Scott.

    • by sabri (584428) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @08:37PM (#44232821)
      I would abstain from the profanity used, but I think that banning internet cafes should be susceptible to a constitutional challenge.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I meant he was a criminal *literally*.

        Go look at his record as a corporate CEO.

      • by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @09:35PM (#44233305) Journal
        That is because you don't understand what is being called an "internet café". There are places here that call themselves "internet cafés" who offer "games" which are actually nothing more than slot machine parlors using virtual slot machines running on PCs.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          So why not call them what they are and then see if that classification falls into a bannable category? The way it is at present they could all re-emrge as "supermarkets of fortune" or some similar name. Then the next law will ban supermarkets. Continue looping round various names and bans until everything is illegal in Florida.

          Surely the reason that language has different words, is to apply them to different things? Not just to allow lawyers ti weasel out of complying with an intention.

        • by dj245 (732906)

          That is because you don't understand what is being called an "internet café". There are places here that call themselves "internet cafés" who offer "games" which are actually nothing more than slot machine parlors using virtual slot machines running on PCs.

          Ah, so they run World of Warcraft and Diablo III then.

      • by sg_oneill (159032) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @10:22PM (#44233615)

        Im convinced half of these laws that get passed don't get passed through a competent lawyer to validate and check. So many utterly ludicrous laws get passed that completely violate constitutional protections or are so poorly written they practically handball themselves to completely arbitrary interpretation by possibly hostile judges all of which a simple rewording by a competent lawyer could correct.

        I mean how many times do laws get passed banning porn only to get bounced by the courts who by now are surely bored silly with conservative (and under obama occasionally progressive) politicians who havent bothered to even glance at the constitution

  • Florida (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @08:29PM (#44232771)
    Florida is a stupid as Texas, and twice as swampy.
  • by jfdavis668 (1414919) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @08:32PM (#44232789)
    They will be forgotten in a few years...
  • by Mitreya (579078) <mitreya@gmMENCKENail.com minus author> on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @08:32PM (#44232791)
    People responsible for crafting laws should be penalized for poor and vague wording.
    Even if it was unintentionally vague (I suspect it is frequently intentional, too).
  • by Tea-Bone of Brooklyn (828337) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @08:35PM (#44232807)
    Talk about overly broad, isn't a coin a device that can be used in a game of chance?
  • Its mind boggling. Hey! They have a whole lot of hotels in Florida. MOST of them will have a complimentary computers to use in an office setting. Are they going to ban those computers so they cannot be used in Internet gambling? That will make an impression. It will impress people that Florida is braindead.

    • by Georules (655379)
      The "internet cafes" near me (I'm in Florida) are certainly not there to be used as you would expect. You go in to buy credit to play games on the machines, which only have gambling programs. The definitions in this bill, and the word "internet cafe", are all being improperly used here. These shops were quite literally for gambling. The one closest to me was called "Lucky Day Internet Sweepstakes." I did see one where you could also browse the internet hourly, but this was clearly not the primary focus
  • I thought everything that government did was well planned and orchestrated, directed by the corporations that own everything, including politicians. Next thing you know, somebody will challenge the idea of the all powerful military-industrial complex that has had its share of resources in the US budget reduced from 38% of GDP in 1945 to ~ 4-5% today. That is crazy talk.

  • This _AND_ sex (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tgetzoya (827201) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @08:44PM (#44232899) Homepage
    http://gawker.com/5800990/did-florida-accidentally-ban-sex [gawker.com] So, what is there left to do in Florida? Die?
    • by dltaylor (7510)

      Delivering a turned calf makes the rancher/vet a sex offender, as does, I suspect, any of the common methods of artifical insemination used by same.

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      Although humans are animals, the act does allow exceptions to the ban on sexual contact with animals in the case of animal husbandry and conformal judging. So... sex for procreation is allowed, as are biggest dick contests.

  • Fark (Score:5, Funny)

    by bmo (77928) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @08:47PM (#44232927)

    There are reasons why Florida has its own tag on Fark.

    This is one of them.

    --
    BMO

  • here [youtube.com]

  • by Bradmont (513167) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @08:57PM (#44233005)
    Please stop drawing a distinction between smartphones and computers (and tablets). They are all computers. Allowing the farce of distinction to survive is a major part of the reason smartphones can be classified as "applicances" and don't have to follow laws about openness and intercompatability.
  • by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @09:18PM (#44233167)

    "any machine or device or system or network of devices" that can be used in games of chance.

    Anyone driven a car in Florida? Going to the grocery store is a game of chance down there. :-)

  • by Wdomburg (141264) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @09:21PM (#44233201)

    This is roughly as stupid as when people claimed Florida banned sex a couple years ago. Read the bill. It clearly refers to devices that perform gaming function on activation; not general purpose devices.

    Common sense, people. What is more likely? A hundred and forty legislators voting to ban computers, or a bogus lawsuit with a silly premise?

    • by Roogna (9643) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @09:28PM (#44233245)

      In Florida? You obviously don't live here.

      I'd go with A hundred and forty legislators voting to ban computers. A lot of them really are that bad at their jobs.

    • by Smallpond (221300)

      Read the complaint. The business was shut down because it had a legal game promotion; it didn't run an internet gambling site.

      The Patriot Act clearly refers to stopping terrorism. That doesn't change the fact that it is primarily used to go after drug crimes.

    • What is more likely? A hundred and forty legislators voting to ban computers, or a bogus lawsuit with a silly premise?

      Is this a job interview question?

  • ... is to file charges against the governor for possessing these now-illegal things.

  • Just means they can't be used to compile C++ in Florida.

  • ... Florida in the pool for the next stupid law?

  • I guess I'm breaking the law just by posting this :o
  • by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @09:54PM (#44233459) Journal
    First off, these aren't the kind of internet cafe' one can go to and get on-line and check one's email or visit a web site. The computers only have gambling program(s) and it is basically a virtual slot machine. These places don't even offer wifi so you can bring your own computer. They are, in effect, illegal casinos.

    Second, the law specifically defines the establishments and computers. It only applies to computers which are set up to ONLY run programs that are games of chance and the establishments that have them.

    Third, the reason the law talks about internet cafe's is because that is what these places call themselves.
    • by ZorinLynx (31751)

      I've never actually seen one of these places. Where are they typically found? I live in the Miami area and the closest thing I've seen to an Internet Café was a place in a mall that had gaming PCs set up so you could play games, basically a pay-by-the-hour LAN party.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      if they are only for purpose of gambling, then they are already banned. if they advertise the gambling service and only offer gambling service... are florida cops just stupid or paid off? a slot machine doesn't turn into a non-slot machine because it has a keyboard and a mouse.

      • by DaveV1.0 (203135)
        It's a loop hole in the law. This law is a (very bad) attempt to plug the loop hole. It has to do with how the machines are operated and how they operate. It's stupid, but it is another example of the law not keeping up with technology.
  • I'm sure it's been said already, but I just wanted to say, on behalf of the remaining Internet: THANK YOU!
  • If gambling is illegal in Florida, why are people still allowed to bet on Wall Street? It's just another bookmaking operation

  • A newer law seeks to ban anyone who admitted themselves for a phyc eval from owning guns, whether you passed or failed....
  • That's the goal of far too much legislation. This way law enforcement always has something they can charge people with that they don't like and lets everyone else go about their business. We no longer have a "rule of law" in this country, we have a "rule of staying on law enforcement's good side." In all likelihood, you committed 3 felonies yesterday and will do so again today:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704471504574438900830760842.html [wsj.com]

    When I see my local politicians doing this, it just sh

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