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Florida governor signs bill to limit tech companies' use of personal data

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday signed SB 262, a law whose supporters say will increase technology transparency, in Wildwood before offering remarks at a press conference. It was one of his media appearances since announcing his 2024 presidential run during a Twitter live stream in late May with CEO Elon Musk.

The bill aims to limit how technology companies acquire and use personal data.

It also creates the “Florida Digital Bill of Rights.” According to the bill summary, the bill of rights requires that technology users have the right to “confirm and access their personal data; delete, correct, or obtain a copy of that personal data; 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; opt out of the collection or processing of sensitive data, including precise geolocation data; and opt out of the collection of personal data collected through the operation of a voice recognition or facial recognition feature.”

SB 262 also aims to protect children from potentially harmful or inappropriate content online and limits how the collection and usage of user data by online platforms that children can access. It also prohibits state employees from contacting technology companies to de-platform people or remove content.

“What I think we're disputing,” DeSantis said, “[is] when they say it's an open platform, when they're getting this liability protection, you then sign up, they take your data and they make money off of it, and then they censor you if you say something they don't like. That wasn't the deal. We want to be able to hold [technology companies] accountable on that.”

DeSantis also used the time to highlight some of his accomplishments as governor.

"I think we've been number one in new business formations every year since I've been governor,” DeSantis said, “We also have the second lowest state per capita tax burden, which is very important. No income tax: We're going to keep it that way. We're ranked number one now in education by US News and World Report, which is exciting."

He also commented on the contrast between Congress raising the debt ceiling and Florida having one of the lowest debt per capita ratios in the country.

“I think it's an interesting contrast,” he said. “In Washington, they're adding trillions more in debt. In Florida, we're running budget surpluses.”

Aileyahu is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.