On Feb. 15, Rep. Fiona McFarland (R-Sarasota) filed HB 969, following a press conference in which Gov. Ron DeSantis and House Speaker Chris Sprowls made clear their intent to crack down on “big tech.” A Senate companion bill is expected to be filed shortly, and the issue has support from Senate President Wilton Simpson. McGuireWoods Consulting expects a version of this bill will pass by the time Florida’s legislative session ends on April 30.

Among other things, HB 969 requires that:

  1. Businesses create and maintain an online privacy policy, to include the consumer rights within this bill
    • Consumers have the right to:
    • Request copies of their personal data
    • Have their personal information deleted or corrected
    • Request companies disclose the personal data that is shared or sold
    • Opt-out of the sale or sharing of personal information to third parties, including service providers of a business
  2. “Personal information” includes an individual’s biometric information, which is defined in the bill
  3. Businesses may not discriminate against consumers who exercise their data privacy rights
  4. Businesses provide an online form that enables consumers to opt-out of the sharing or selling of their personal information
  5. Certain types of information are exempted from these requirements based on federally-protected statuses, such as HIPAA and FERPA, or for research purposes
  6. Consumers may pursue civil action against businesses that fail to protect an individual’s personal information

Florida’s 60-day legislative session begins this Tuesday, March 2, but policy and budget discussions are well underway. The MWC Florida team will be watching this issue closely.