Florida Bans Computers And Smartphones In A Poorly Written Bill

Image via Flickr/ San José Library

The joke is on Florida, who accidentally banned all smartphones and computers in a poorly written bill. In April, Florida governor Rick Scott passed a law banning Internet cafes that allow customers to use slot-like machine games. Since April, more than 1,000 Internet cafes have been shut down.

The bill noted, “… a rebuttable presumption that a device, system, or network is a prohibited slot machine.”

As reported by the Huffington Post, according to the Miami law firm of Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine, “that broad wording can be applied to any number of devices.”

The Associated Press reports, “The Legislature and governor acted with dizzying speed, leaving many questions as to the law’s impact and how the centers known as Internet cafes would react. The ban is also expected to directly affect adult amusement arcades that cater to senior citizens.”

Incredible Investments, LLC., an Internet café that offers online services to migrant workers, had their legal team look into the bill. According to the lawsuit filed by its owner, Consuela Zapata, and obtained by The Miami Herald, the hastily written bill can be applied to any computer or device connected to the Internet. The lawsuit also notes that the “games” it administers in the café operates much like a “sweepstakes,” similar to those offered by major corporations such as McDonald’s and Coca Cola:

“Game promotions are commonly known as ‘sweepstakes drawings.’ Some well- known game promotions are McDonald’s ‘Monopoly Game,’ ‘My Coke Rewards,’ and a myriad of other offers from retailers where ‘no purchase is necessary.’

Like those well-known examples, to stimulate interest in their consumer products (internet time) and services (internet-capable computers), as well as promote the sale thereof, the Plaintiff—as well as approximately 6,700 other businesses in Florida—provides sweepstakes games entries that entitle the consumer to win prizes (the ‘Game Promotions’).”

The horrible wording has made Florida the butt of many jokes, and Scott has yet to comment. TIME magazine writer Doug Aamoth wrote, “Florida, if you’re reading this, I beg you to fully enforce this law. Don’t backpedal. Don’t apologize. If anything, this law should go further and ban voice calls, too. And TV. You have a chance to be the most unique state in our great country.”