Data privacy bill flatlines on Sine Die

Lock on laptop as computer protection and cyber safety concept. Private data protection from hacker malware
The bill would have given consumers greater control over their personal data.

A Republican priority bill that aimed to reign in businesses that use consumer data died Friday in the closing hours of the Legislative Session.

The measure (HB 969), sponsored by freshman Rep. Fiona McFarland, would have allowed consumers to control how their personal data is shared and sold. It also aimed to allow the Attorney General to take legal action against companies that violate a consumer’s privacy rights.

It died in House messages.

Originally, the bill sought to allow consumers to take up a cause of action. The provision, however, was a sticking point in the Senate.

“I think it’d be pretty difficult,” said Senate President Wilton Simpson when asked about the possibility of a consumer cause of action passing in his Chamber.

In many cases, businesses farm consumer data to learn more about consumers and tailor their marketing.

Under the bill, consumers would’ve had the right to know what personal information a company possesses, how it acquired it and what the company will do with it.

Consumers could have also requested that their data be deleted or corrected. They would have been further empowered to restrict the sale or share of it.

Businesses widely opposed the measure. They contended it would create untold operational and legal expenses. More than 350 lobbyists weighed in on the bill.

Notably, Gov. Ron DeSantis and Florida Republicans centered their crosshairs on Big Tech during the Session.

But despite the bill’s death, Republicans did manage to muscle a bill crackdown on social media companies Republicans say indiscriminately block users and content from their platforms.

Sponsored by Estero Republican Sen. Ray Rodrigues, the bill (SB 7072) requires social media companies to post their terms of service and apply them equally.

Further, it prohibits social media platforms from banning a qualified political candidate for more than 60 days and lays out consequences for companies who do not comply.

Under the proposal, violators could face fines of $100,000 a day for deplatforming statewide candidates and $10,000 a day for other candidates.

The bill, which addresses antitrust laws, would also require tech companies to publish standards for handling issues like censoring, deplatforming and blocking users and apply the standards consistently.

Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado covers news out of the state capital for Florida Politics. After a stint with the U.S. Army, Jason attended the University of Central Florida where he studied American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. Throw him a line at [email protected] or on Twitter at @byJasonDelgado.


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