- Florida lawmakers are considering Senate Bill 262, which aims to regulate digital services and protect consumer data privacy, but critics argue it could harm small businesses and consumers by limiting targeted advertising.
- The Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) warns that the bill’s provisions may impose burdensome requirements on businesses, restricting digital services and stifling innovation.
- Opponents of the bill call for a more balanced approach that addresses both consumer protection and the needs of Florida’s economy while supporting small businesses’ advertising and fundraising efforts.
On Tuesday, Florida Senators on the Commerce and Tourism Committee voted unanimously to advance a technology transparency bill (SB 262) that critics argue could harm small businesses and consumers alike by limiting targeted advertising and imposing burdensome requirements on businesses. The bill seeks to regulate social media platforms and technology companies that collect and use personal information, but small business owners argue that it goes too far and will make marketing campaigns less effective and more expensive.
Proponents of the bill argue that it is necessary to address privacy concerns and data breaches that have become increasingly common in recent years. However, opponents claim that the bill’s opt-out provision for targeted advertising could ultimately make online ads more annoying for users and hinder small businesses’ ability to reach their target audiences.
“Digital advertising through Google, Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, and eBay is how we connect with new customers and grow,” said Alexander Fedorowicz, Co-Founder and President of QRxLabs, a skincare products company based in Miami. “The so-called ‘technology transparency’ bills would make Florida the first state to regulate sharing non-personal data like the type of phone someone uses, their preferred language, or if they clicked on an ad. This information does not raise privacy risks and is critical to small business advertisers.”
The Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) has also expressed concerns about the bill’s potential impact on consumers and businesses. Khara Boender, State Policy Director for CCIA, submitted written comments to the Senate committee and testified against SB 262 on Tuesday.
“As Florida lawmakers consider legislation regarding digital services, CCIA cautions against proposals that do not balance the complex nature of digital service providers with the concerns and rights of consumers,” said Boender. “Provisions within the current proposal raise serious concerns, including imposing overly burdensome requirements and penalties on businesses that may restrict digital services available to Florida consumers and stifle innovative advancements.”
These restrictions, Boender added, could put a disproportionate strain on small businesses, making their advertising and fundraising efforts less effective in reaching key audiences. “This legislation risks turning free services into paid subscriptions and disconnecting Florida businesses from beneficial advertising that they rely on to reach local audiences,” she said.
Critics argue that while the pursuit of data privacy and security legislation is commendable, SB 262 falls short of providing meaningful protection and could threaten the livelihood of small businesses. They call for a more balanced approach that addresses both consumer protection and the needs of Florida’s economy.