February 17, 2023

Florida Governor Announces New Privacy Push

Holland & Knight Cybersecurity and Privacy Blog
Shannon Britton Hartsfield | Hilary Lane

On Feb. 15, 2023, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that a proposal for a sweeping bill aimed at protecting privacy and restricting activities of certain social media companies is coming. According to the "full proposal," the bill would do the following:

  • create a "Digital Bill of Rights," including the right to:
    • "have private, in-person conversations without Big Tech surveillance"
    • "participate in online platforms without unfair censorship"
    • "know how internet search engines manipulate search results"
    • "control personal data" and
    • "protect children from online harms"
  • require large search engines, such as Google, that operate in Florida to disclose whether they prioritize search results based on factors such as monetary consideration or political or ideological views
  • prohibit state and local government employees in Florida "from coordinating with a Big Tech company to police or censor protected speech"
  • restrict the use of social media platforms like TikTok that are tied to particular countries by
    • banning the use of those platforms on government devices
    • prohibiting universities, public schools and government offices from allowing access to such platforms through their internet services
    • requiring that government servers be protected from security risks posed by the platforms and
    • prohibiting the platforms in locations where young people could be exposed to harmful content

A draft of the bill is not yet available as of Feb. 17, 2023.

The governor also ordered the Florida Department of Management Services (DMS) to provide state agencies with recommendations for safeguards to block state devices from accessing certain software and applications. DMS issued a memo, also on Feb. 15, 2023, that recommends that state agencies remove access to QQ, TikTok, WeChat, VKontakte and Kaspersky from all government devices and also to block access through government provided networks.

Holland & Knight attorneys will provide updates on noteworthy developments. If you have any questions, please contact the authors or another member of the Global Cybersecurity and Privacy Policy and Regulation Team or the Data Strategy, Security & Privacy Team.

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