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FL Governor’s“Digital Bill of Rights” Could End Big Tech Censorship

FL Governor’s“Digital Bill of Rights” Could End Big Tech Censorship

Florida Governor Ron Desantis (R) this month introduced the latest element in his yearslong campaign against Big Tech:

The Digital Bill of Rights aims to protect Floridians from unlawful surveillance, censorship, and other overreaches including the collection and retention of real-time GPS location and biometrics. The proposal prohibits large tech companies from programming devices to record personal conversations when key words or phrases are identified.

“We want to protect your right as a Floridian to have private, in-person conversations without Big Tech surveilling you,” said DeSantis during a press conference in West Palm Beach. “If you want to consent to let them have this information so they can fashion advertising based off of it, it’s your right to consent to do so – but it should only be if you consent.” 

Your devices are always listening, he added. “You can go buy a phone, you turn it on, you put it in your car – you don’t even make a call, don’t even open the web browser, just sit it next to you. You drive around, run errands…It is collecting all the data about what you’re doing…It’s nuts to think the amount of information they can compile about you.”

This is why you are likely to receive ads about things you may have researched online or mentioned during a call.

In terms of keeping harmful content away from children, the proposal prevents businesses from selling or sharing a minor consumer’s personal information without consent from a parent or guardian and blocks the unauthorized collection, use, or sharing of student PII obtained from online programs at school. It supports parents’ rights by allowing parents/guardians to access, delete, and correct a minor’s personal information.

The Digital Bill of Rights demands increased transparency from Big Tech companies so that consumers can make informed decisions when choosing which search engines and social media platforms to use. It bans the use of TikTok, WeChat, and other social media platforms linked to the Chinese Communist Party from government devices and Internet services at public schools and universities.

“Big Tech has gone unchecked for too long and has been reckless with our data, causing major concerns about privacy and potentially jeopardizing sensitive state information,” warned Attorney General Ashley Moody. “I’m proud to stand with Governor DeSantis today to give Silicon Valley a reboot and announce an audacious plan to protect Floridians and keep our children safe online.” 

Key objectives include:

  • Protect consumers from unlawful censorship and surveillance
  • Keep harmful content away from children
  • Inform consumers about the way tech companies collect, use, and profit from personal data 
  • Inform consumers about the way search engines manipulate search results 
  • Force tech companies to gain consent from users before collecting personal data
  • Protect Floridians’ First Amendment Rights and right to privacy
  • Uphold consumer protection and unfair trade practice laws 
  • Prevent state and local government staff from working with tech companies to censor protected speech 

The Digital Bill of Rights is just one part of a broader campaign to limit the power of Big Tech companies. In May 2021 – a few months after Facebook and Twitter banned then-President Donald Trump – DeSantis signed a bill that prohibits the de-platforming of political candidates in Florida and grants Sunshine State residents the power to sue tech companies for unfair discrimination.

The primary argument of the 2021 bill is that social media companies are not publishers and should not be treated as such. 

“They have terms and conditions and they have certain rules, but those rules are applied with a thumb on the scale against the people they disagree with politically,” said DeSantis. “So you have seen people who have conservative views marginalized entirely, banned, de-platformed, shadowbanned, and all these different things.”

The 2021 bill is still pending in the courts, but DeSantis is confident that SCOTUS will hear the case next year and make a favorable decision.

Author’s Note: If enough states adopt similar legislation, we might just have a shot at escaping Big Tech. 

Sources:

Gov. DeSantis announces Digital Bill of Rights to protect Floridians from Big Tech surveillance, censorship

Governor Ron DeSantis Introduces Groundbreaking Legislation to Protect the Digital Rights and Privacy of All Floridians

Governor Ron DeSantis Signs Bill to Stop the Censorship of Floridians by Big Tech 

Watch the press release HERE

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3 Comments

  1. Darren

    Whit this article in mind, Big Tech will do everything in its power to keep DeSantis out of the White House.

  2. jboo7

    AN EXCELLENT LAW – should be brought before UN and accepted as UNIVERSALLY BINDING!

  3. Jpop

    The Digital Bill of Rights looks like a great law. But I am from Michigan, and our governor is Big Tech Compliant like a good little Socialist-loving Foot Soldier.

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