DeSantis signs bill giving Florida consumers more control over data gathered by Big Tech

Legislation signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis Tuesday gives Florida consumers more control over data gathered by Big Tech companies.

How tech companies use consumer data such as buying habits and other personal information has become a major flashpoint, with privacy advocates calling for greater protections.

Florida now joins a growing number of states enacting data privacy rules after DeSantis signed Senate Bill 262, dubbed the Digital Bill of Rights.

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Under the legislation, companies must allow Florida consumers to opt out having sensitive data collected.

Consumers also have the right to confirm, access, delete, correct and obtain a copy of their data, and they can opt out of "the processing of personal data for the purposes of targeted advertising, the sale of personal data, or profiling in furtherance of a decision that produces a legal or similarly significant effect concerning a consumer," according to a Senate bill analysis.

The legislation only governs companies earning more than $1 billion globally in gross annual revenues and meet other thresholds, such as deriving "50 percent or more if its global gross annual revenues from the sale ofadvertisements, including from providing targeted advertising or the sale of ads online."

State Rep. Fiona McFarland, R-Sarasota, sponsored the data privacy bill in the House. She said Tuesday that “Floridians are creeped out” by how much data companies collect and her legislation empowers consumers to take control of their data.

“It’s on us now," she said.

After years of debate about the issue, Florida lawmakers passed the wide-ranging bill that drew heavy lobbying and revisions throughout the legislative session. Negotiations on the details continued into the next-to-last day of the session.

Scores of so-called “techlash” bills have sprung up in statehouses across the country, propelled by concerns that Big Tech companies have become too powerful and that the federal government has not moved quickly enough to protect consumers from the intrusions of Big Data.

Florida Governor and Presidential Candidate Ron DeSantis held a press conference at the Everglades Recreation in Wildwood, FL, Tuesday morning, June 6, discussing the rights of Floridians and how the state will protect their digital rights. DeSantis signed Senate Bill (SB) 262, creating the Digital Bill of Rights. This was also the first public appearance in Florida since announcing his candidacy for the President of the United States. [Doug Engle/Ocala Star Banner]2023

The Associated Press and News Service of Florida contributed to this story.

This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Florida puts new rules on Big Tech data gathering practices