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Florida unveils bill targeting Big Tech data mining and user privacy

The new legislation announced Monday is an attempt to combat Big Tech and offer Floridians more secure data privacy. 

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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.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. DG

    February 16, 2021 at 10:05 am

    Good news for Floridians. Now we need other governors to do the same.

  2. Tom

    February 16, 2021 at 9:20 pm

    I agree. Tell your state reps and governors to propose their own Florida HB 969.

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Politics

Biden’s Energy Secretary Violated Stock Disclosure Laws 9 Times Last Year

A spokeswoman for Granholm said that the late disclosures were the fault of a “clerical error”

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Photo by JIM WATSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm sold shares of stock 9 times last year between April to October, but did not disclose the sales “within the legally required 45-day window, according to federal disclosure documents”, reports CNBC.

The shares of stock were worth up to $240,000. A spokeswoman for Granholm blamed a “clerical error” saying the secretary paid a late filing fee. Granholm did not file any of the 9 disclosures until December after legal deadlines for all had passed.

The STOCK Act has been in place since 2012, which “expanded the accountability and reporting requirements for financial holdings, both for members of Congress and high-level employees of the Executive Branch like Granholm” reports CNBC.

“The news of Granholm’s apparent violations comes at a time when stock sales by public officials and members of Congress are getting a fresh look” reports CNBC. “During the past week, several members of Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, have introduced or reintroduced legislation that would effectively ban lawmakers and their immediate family members from actively trading stocks while the member is in office.”

According to an analysis by Business Insider’s Dave Levinthal published earlier this month, a total of 54 members of Congress violated the STOCK Act rules just last year alone.

CNBC reports on the suspicious behavior of Granholm:

When President Joe Biden nominated her to be his energy secretary, Granholm signed a detailed Ethics Agreement in which she agreed to give up part-time jobs at the University of California and at CNN, step down from several boards, and sell millions of dollars worth of stock.

On March 22, she reported 23 stock sales, many of them blue-chip companies she had more than $10,000 of shares in.

A few months later in May, Granholm filed more transaction reports detailing how she had exercised stock options in the electric bus and battery company Proterra and then sold all her shares, worth between $1 million and $5 million, on May 24.

But in between the March blue chip sales and the May Proterra sale, Granholm made 6 of the 9 stock sales that didn’t get disclosed until December.

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Trump Says Reports On A Conflict With DeSantis Are ‘Fake News’

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Ron DeSantis

During a Fox News interview on Thursday, former President Donald Trump shot down recent reports claiming that there were rising tensions between the former president and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, saying it was “fake news” and that DeSantis has “done a really terrific job in Florida.”

Trump’s comments came in response to an article from The New York Times claiming that Trump had a “long-stewing resentment” toward DeSantis.

“For months, former President Donald J. Trump has been grumbling quietly to friends and visitors to his Palm Beach mansion about a rival Republican power center in another Florida mansion, some 400 miles to the north,” The New York Times wrote. “Gov. Ron DeSantis, a man Mr. Trump believes he put on the map, has been acting far less like an acolyte and more like a future competitor, Mr. Trump complains. With his stock rising fast in the party, the governor has conspicuously refrained from saying he would stand aside if Mr. Trump runs for the Republican nomination for president in 2024.”

Hannity said that he was recently told that DeSantis does not think there has been “any conflict or bickering” between the two and that the report was “total BS” from the mainstream media.

“Is he right?” Hannity asked.

“Well, he is right,” Trump responded. “I get along great with Ron. Ron was very good on the Mueller hoax. He was right up front along with Jim Jordan, and all of the rest of them, they were fantastic. The Republicans really stuck together. And it was a great thing. And Ron was one of them. And Ron wanted to run and I endorsed him. And that helped him greatly.”

“And he went on and he’s done a really terrific job in Florida, and I think you know, Ron has been very good,” Trump continued. “He’s been a friend of mine for a long time. It’s totally fake news. I think Ron said last week, he said it very publicly, he says the press is never going to get in the middle of my friendship with Donald Trump, we’re not going to do that stuff. And he said it very strongly, I thought it was very interesting, actually. And very nice. But he said that, and I agree with him on that 100%. No, I have a very good relationship with Ron and intend to have it for a long time.”

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