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DeSantis signs 'digital bill of rights' with focus on data privacy

“[Technology is] such a big part of our daily lives and there’s some benefits to that but there are also some drawbacks to that,” DeSantis said.

THE VILLAGES, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis paused his presidential campaign to sign a bill into law targeting transparency with technology in the state.

During a news conference Tuesday in Wildwood, DeSantis signed SB 262, which creates a so-called "digital bill of rights" to protect Floridians' digital rights and privacy from "Big Tech" companies.

“[Technology is] such a big part of our daily lives and there’s some benefits to that but there are also some drawbacks to that,” DeSantis said. “I think we’ve seen with some of these 'Big Tech' companies how they’ve used their power to advance their agenda, how they’ve used their power to commandeer personal information of individual Americans.

"We wanna make sure that we’re providing protection for Floridians to speak their mind on these platforms, making sure that their data isn’t monetized without their consent….”

Here's a breakdown of everything the freshly signed bill will do.

The law requires Google and other large search engines to release information on whether they prioritize search results based on political ideology, according to the governor's office.

The legislation also puts a block on what DeSantis called government-led censorship by stopping state or local employees from conspiring with "Big Tech" companies to censor protected speech.

In a statement, leaders explain the newly created "digital bill of rights" includes:

  • The right to control personal data, including the right to confirm, access, and delete your personal data from a social platform;
  • The right to know that your personal data will not be used against you when purchasing a home, obtaining health insurance, or being hired;
  • The right to know how internet search engines manipulate search results;
  • The right to opt out of having personal data sold; and
  • The right to protect children from personal data collection.

“Floridians should have the right to control their own personal data,” DeSantis said in a statement. “If a multibillion-dollar company is conspiring to take your data and sell it or use it against you, it is your right to be able to protect that data. 

"No longer will the Big Tech oligarchs be able to commandeer your personal information and deprive you of the right to access, confirm, or delete that data as you wish.”

This freshly signed bill will also require that an online search engine publishes an up-to-date plain language description of the main parameters that are most significant in determining ranking and the relative importance of those main parameters, according to the governor's office.

Government employees will now be blocked from using their position to be in contact with social media platforms to remove content or accounts from the platform. On top of that, a governmental entity can't initiate or maintain any agreements or working relationships with a social media platform for the purpose of content moderation, the release explains.

This bill builds on legislation the governor signed recently, SB 258, which bans the use of TikTok and other "dangerous" foreign-made apps on government and educational institution devices across the state.  

It codifies previous legislation and makes it applicable to all stages of local and state government, DeSantis said. 

"So if you're trying to get on the WiFi or something with one of these CCP-backed apps, it's not going to let you go and do that," DeSantis previously said. "We think that's appropriate because we think whatever utility these applications have is clearly outweighed by the benefit that the CCP gets from data mining and being able to collect information."

Click here to read the full text for SB 262.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Watch the full news conference down below.

Florida Gov. DeSantis holds news conference in Wildwood

LIVE: Gov. Ron DeSantis holds a news conference in Wildwood at the Everglades Recreation Center.

Posted by 10 Tampa Bay on Tuesday, June 6, 2023

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