Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and republican lawmakers in the Florida House of Representatives announced new legislation Monday to combat Big Tech and offer Floridians more secure data privacy.
“Today we look to change what’s acceptable in the sunshine state by shining a light on these practices and by empowering consumers to make decisions about if, how, and when their personal information is used,” DeSantis said in a press conference.
“Status quo has all been a one-way street with Big Tech, where they have all the power, they dictate all the rules, they take whatever data they want, when they want it, and consumers get virtually nothing except the ‘privilege’ of using their own devices that they’ve already paid for. But we can’t let it go on any longer,” he added.
The bill, which has support in both the state House and Senate, provides Floridians with “four main rights” to privacy, including the right to know what data companies obtain from users, the right to order the Big Tech giants to delete that information, the right to prohibit the companies from selling any personal information without permission and the right to sue if a data breach occurs, The Federalist reports.
“We’re going to make sure consumers are in the driver’s seat to make that decision, not Silicon Valley or other global companies which are far more focused on their profits than on your privacy,” DeSantis urged.
If the bill passes, which is likely, it would force the Big Tech conglomerate to create an “opt-out” mechanism for users’ private personal information, from general user data on certain apps to the most private information like fingerprints, voice recordings and retinal scans.
“Your data is tracked and too often is sold…this threat isn’t limited just to the data that you have on the internet but it ranges to even your most fundamental part of who you are, your DNA, but that doesn’t matter to tech companies who sell those to private vendors and often, as is covered in the ‘60 Minutes,’ foreign entities,” Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls explained.
“This bill seeks to bring these things into the daylight. It seeks to change the dynamic that exists between our personal privacy and the powers of Big Tech and big technology,” he added.
This legislation would provide the Florida attorney general and any individual in the state the option to bring forth legal action.
“This bill offers a common-sense solution to something that every Floridian is dealing with every time that they open their phone, or engage int he digital space, and our message here to Floridians today is this: the days where you have no control will soon be over,” Sprowls continued.
Rep. Fiona McFarland, R-Sarasota, the bill’s sponsor, said that the bill would “ensure the private data of Floridians stays private.”
Gov. DeSantis has long been an avid supporter of legislation to combat Big Tech censorship, blacklisting and election interference.
“Big Tech has long since abdicated the protection of consumers for the pursuit of profit,” he said in a press conference in early February. “We can’t allow Floridians’ privacy to be violated, their voices and even their livelihoods diminished, and their elections interfered with.”
Florida is the first of many states expected to take legislative action against Big Tech in the coming weeks and months.