Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed SB 261 into law on Tuesday. The measure will now create a “Digital Bill of Rights” for Floridians that will restrict what big tech companies can do with sensitive user data.

What You Need To Know

  • DeSantis signed SB 262 into law on Tuesday

  • The bill will require companies on the internet to be more upfront with private information

  • It will also ban the collection of children's private data

The new law, which will take effect on July 1 of this year, will give Floridians the right to control personal data, including the right to confirm, access, and delete personal data from social platforms.

Additionally, the bill forbids personal information, including political leanings, from being used in hiring decisions or buying a home or insurance.

The rest of the five rights included in the “Bill of Rights” are the ability for users to know how internet search results are created, the ability to opt out of the sale of personal data, and a protection from the collection of children’s online data.

The new law also will require search engines to disclose if political views come into play when serving search results.

“Floridians should have the right to control their own personal data,” said DeSantis. “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 bill builds on legislation the Governor signed recently, SB 662, to protect the online information of Florida’s students by creating the Student Online Personal Information Protection Act. That law substantially restricts online operators from collecting, disclosing, or selling student data that is used for school purposes.

An analysis of the bill provided by the staff of the Rules Committee identified a federal law, known as Section 230, as creating several issues that the new Florida law hopes to address.

“There have been criticisms of the broad immunity provisions or liability shields which force

individuals unhappy with third-party content to sue the user who posted it. While this immunity

has fostered the free flow of ideas on the Internet, critics have argued that Section 230 shields

publishers from liability for allowing harmful content,” the analysis said.

“Congressional and executive proposals to limit immunity for claims relating to platforms purposefully hosting content from those engaging in child exploitation, terrorism, and cyber-stalking have been introduced,” it continued.

Section 230 allows for protections to social media companies and other forums from being held criminally or civilly liable for content on their respective platforms posted by others.

A case currently before the Supreme Court, Gonzalez v. Google LLC, centers on the idea of whether online platforms should be held liable when algorithms prioritize or recommend certain content to users.

The analysis also mentioned several federal and state laws that address privacy concerns as well, including HIPAA, the Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act, the California Consumer Privacy Act, among others.

The analysis of the measure also said that businesses will need to change their operations to implement the notice and privacy requirements, and that search engines like Google will have to provide information to consumers on how they prioritize or de-prioritize certain information.