Governor Ron DeSantis Signs 'Digital Bill of Rights'

New legislation seeks to protect children & limit manipulation of search engine results

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed into law the state’s new “Digital Bill of Rights,” which protects children and consumers from online data collection, while limiting Big Tech censorship.

“Floridians should have the right to control their own personal data,” DeSantis said in a press release. “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.”

Under the new law, which goes into effect July 1, consumers will have the right to confirm, access, and delete their personal data from social media platforms. Users will also be able to opt out of having their personal data sold and/or used for targeted advertising.

Senate Bill 262 also requires Google and other large search engines to disclose if they prioritize search results based on political partisanship or political ideology, which could have strong implications across a number of areas, including U.S. elections.

Following leaked documents and whistleblower testimony several years ago, psychologist Robert Epstein warned that Google has the ability to swing an election by 15 million votes simply by manipulating search results.

“Based on the data that we’re collecting, I would say that if what we’re seeing is present nationwide, they are probably shifting this year in this election about 15 million votes without anyone’s awareness and except for what I’m doing, without leaving a paper trail for authorities to trace,” Epstein said.

Florida’s new legislation also prohibits state and local government employees from working with Big Tech companies to censor protected speech, and adds biometric data and geolocation information to the definition of “personal information” under the Florida Information Protection Act. The new law will allow users to opt out of the collection of their personal data through voice recognition.

Provisions under the legislation also protect children by prohibiting online platforms that provide a service, game, product, or feature to children from collecting, processing, selling, sharing, or retaining a child’s personal information that is not needed to provide that specific service, product, or feature.

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