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Florida Privacy Protection Act moves out of committee to full Senate

by | Apr 6, 2021


Yesterday, Senate Bill 1734, the “Florida Privacy Protection Act” passed out of the Senate Rules Committee, its last stop before a full vote of the Florida Senate.

The bill requires certain businesses that collect consumer personal information to provide information to the consumer and provides that consumers have the right to direct certain businesses not to sell their personal information. It prohibits businesses from selling the personal information of young consumers without express authorization from the consumer or the consumer’s parent or guardian. It also authorizes consumers to initiate civil actions for violations.

A vocal proponent of the bill, CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “There’s nothing more valuable to a person than one’s own identity, and Floridians deserve to have control over their own personal information. We must protect Florida’s consumers from the big tech companies who look to profit from consumers private information, and that is why I have called on the Legislature to pass these critical protections. A special thank you to Governor (Ron) DeSantis, President (Wilton) Simpson, Senator (Kathleen) Passidomo and Senator (Jennifer) Bradley for prioritizing this critical issue and working to ensure the private data of Floridians is protected.”

However, Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic M. Calabro warned the bill could be very costly to small businesses. Florida TaxWatch is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit, taxpayer research institute and government watchdog

In comments to Passidomo, Calabro said, “Our economic research team evaluated the impact of the data privacy bills introduced this year and found that though it may promote some level of consumer privacy, as introduced, the bills in their current form would disproportionately affect small businesses and expose Florida employers to significant costs and economic risks.

“Our assessment found that the initial cost of compliance for affected companies in Florida is estimated to be around $36.5 billion, with small businesses shouldering a large portion of the initial costs; Florida businesses could also expect to pay an additional $301.2 million to $9.7 billion over the next decade for ongoing compliance; and because of the expansive definitions and complicated processes for businesses to comply, coupled with private cause of action provisions included in the bill, the costs could be much higher, further burdening small businesses with limited legal resources.

“Florida TaxWatch believes that policymakers should consider ways to refine the legislation to address the disproportionate impact to smaller businesses – and the unintended consequences to consumer equity and economic growth – and allow for a more thorough economic assessment of the proposed changes to data privacy in Florida.”

The Florida Chamber of Commerce is concerned about the bill as well. Carolyn Johnson, senior director of business economic development and innovation policy, Florida Chamber of Commerce, said,  “The Florida Chamber supports the positive improvements that Senator Jennifer Bradley has made to her data privacy bill, especially removing the private right of action and narrowing the scope of who this bill applies to. However, we still have concerns that without an exclusive remedy, the bill will still drive class action litigation like what is being seen in California. Furthermore, the Florida Chamber remains concerned about the cost of compliance. We share the goal of protecting consumers and look forward to continuing to work with the Senate and the House to improve the bill and ensure that we are going after only the truly bad actors that are selling massive amounts of consumer data without the consumer’s knowledge.”

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