Poll: Florida voters overwhelmingly support data privacy protections

Wooden block with lock graphic on laptop keyboard. Computer security concept.
96% of Florida voters oppose companies selling or sharing personal data.

Florida voters may not agree on much, but they do agree companies shouldn’t be able to buy, sell or share their personal data without giving the consumer the opportunity to opt out.

According to a poll conducted by Gainesville-based firm Data Targeting, 96% of voters are opposed to businesses commoditizing their data — a level of support virtually unheard of in the political realm.

The poll also found a sizable majority (79%) supported potential legislation that would provide consumers more control over their personal data, including the right to request companies delete or stop selling it.

Support was strong across party lines — 80% of Republicans told the pollster they supported the proposal, including 72% who said they strongly supported it. Data Targeting noted the concept’s popularity rivals that of school board term limits, which polls at 78%.

Though conducted in December, the poll comes as lawmakers consider a bill that would establish data privacy protections in the state.

HB 9, sponsored by Republican Rep. Fiona McFarland, would give consumers the right to determine what information has been collected, request the data be deleted or corrected, and opt out of the sale or sharing of that personal information.

While the bill has advanced through the committee process in the House, where it is ready for a floor vote, the Senate companion hasn’t seen any action since it was filed.

The measure also faces staunch opposition from businesses and industry associations — such as the Associated Industries of Florida, Florida Retail Federation and Florida TaxWatch — have warned the measure could be financially crippling.

Florida TaxWatch estimates the proposal would saddle Florida companies with upward of $21 billion in startup and compliance costs, and a conservative think tank has mounted an ad campaign blasting the bill as a California-style regulation that would cost Florida taxpayers “tens of billions” and force businesses to raise prices or even shut their doors.

Detractors also have warned of a spike in litigation because of a provision allowing consumers to file suit if companies do not comply with the law. However, the latest House version addresses those concerns by limiting potential litigation to only the largest businesses that have violated the new law

Supporters of the legislation, however, say the bill is needed in order to curb predatory data mining and the potential costs would be shouldered only by companies that actively trade in consumer data — businesses that do not sell, buy or share data would not be impacted and those that contract with third-party vendor for data services could avoid running afoul of the law by prohibiting the vendor from selling customer data.

Any business that chooses to continue trading in consumer data could weigh the compliance costs against their potential earnings and decide whether to press forward, they say.

When presented with the opposition’s talking points, support held at 63%. Further, 52% of supporters said they would be more likely to vote for a legislator who backed the bill, including 34% who said they would be “much more likely.”

The Data Targeting poll had a sample size of 719 active registered Florida voters. It was conducted Nov. 29 – Dec. 2 using a combination of live telephone interviews and online surveys. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points at a 95% confidence level.

Drew Wilson

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.


One comment

  • Birds Up to you Ron

    March 2, 2022 at 11:30 am

    It should all be decentralized and individually controlled in our current paradigm but does this really matter? Asking for a friend. We have a general populace so completely stupid they’ll believe anything even when proof of fakery exists:

    See Exhibits A – C
    Exhibit A – 9/11
    Exhibit B – Covid19
    Exhibit C – Russian/Ukraine tensions

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