Big data bill will pass bigger bills to consumers; Strawberry shortcake bill just as sloppy as the dish

by | Mar 6, 2022

 

Big data privacy proposal means bigger bills for consumers

A measure that purports to give consumers more control over personal data collected by companies is now under consideration (HB 9) by the Florida Senate after House lawmakers overwhelmingly voted in favor of the bill. But tech experts say the proposal misses the mark because it not only fails to improve consumers’ privacy, it also lowers the quality of digital products available, and will add billions of dollars to the cost of doing business here.

And guess who’s gonna foot the bill?

You guessed it. Me. And you. And every other consumer, because that’s what happens when costs increase for businesses: they pass those costs to consumers in the form of price increases. But not all companies can do that. Some companies in competitive industries can’t afford to raise prices and still edge out the competition. In many cases, those companies will simply exit the market, meaning less choice for consumers when it comes to digital platforms, websites and tools.

The 35-page bill is an absolute quagmire of regulatory rhetoric, precisely the sort of thing Republicans used to campaign against. As Spence Purnell of the Reason Foundation pointed out earlier this week, the bill in its current form will allow individuals to claim harm from even the slightest procedural violations. For example, Purnell points out, the bill requires companies to comply with a user’s request to opt-out or be deleted from databases and that the request must be completed in less than 10 days. Thus, Purnell argues, users could frequently opt-in and out of data sharing with the hope that the firm does not comply with one of these requests in time, giving grounds for a suit.

“This could unleash a ridiculous flood of lawsuits from individuals who are trying to force digital service companies to change their policies,” Purnell said.

And what’s worse, we as consumers are already free to choose which apps we use, which websites we visit, and who we do business with. The bottom line is that we simply don’t need big government stepping in to protect us from our own decisions about who we do business with.

Only DeSantis can save us from the fraudulent strawberry shortcake bill

For reasons I’ve already outlined in a previous story, strawberry shortcake is barely a dessert at all, let lone worthy of “official dessert of Florida” status. And a supermajority of Florida voters don’t want it as the state’s official dessert. Yet for some reason, only four lawmakers in the state legislature possessed enough common sense to vote against SB 1006, and so the bill is now headed for the governor’s desk.

Governor Ron DeSantis should veto the bill with great fanfare while eating Florida’s original official dessert, Key lime pie, on the grounds that the bill contains one patently false statement and a shamefully misleading claim on lines 25 and 26, as follows:

WHEREAS, in 2000, Guinness World Records recognized Plant City as home of the biggest shortcake in the world

The statement, meant to bolster the dish’s claim on the title of official state dessert, is demonstrably false.

In fact, Plant City broke the record a year earlier, in February 1999, and the Guinness Book of World Records certified the feat in June of that same year.  Which means the bill headed to the governor’s desk isn’t even factual, but the product of some lazy staffer who half-heartedly did “research” while trying to justify this “legislation.”

Worse still, the claim is also misleading, because neither Plant City nor Florida itself currently holds the strawberry shortcake record. That honor belongs to the city of La Trinidad in the Philippines. And they didn’t just beat Florida’s record. They crushed it, making Plant City’s 6,000 pound shortcake look downright pathetic compared to La Trinidad’s 21,213 pound monstrosity.

Sadly, media outlets have repeated the misleading claim in the bill, effectively laying claim to a record that isn’t Florida’s, and one that Florida only held for a measly five years before the Philippines shattered Florida’s record in 2004. The Philippines have held the record ever since – 18 straight years of Plant City strawberry festivals – without a response from Florida.

Probably because there’s not enough people in our entire state willing to eat more than 21,000 pounds of strawberry shortcake at one time.

Pathetic. And utterly unworthy of “official Florida dessert” status.

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