TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced his proposal to protect Floridians’ digital rights and privacy from Big Tech companies by creating a Digital Bill of Rights that focuses on protecting Floridians’ privacy, protecting minors from online harms, and eliminating unfair censorship. The proposal also bans the use of TikTok and other social media platforms with ties to China from all state government devices, and through internet services at colleges, universities, and public schools, and prohibits state and local government employees from coordinating with Big Tech companies to censor protected speech. This proposal is for the 2023 Florida Legislative Session that begins in March. To read the full proposal, click here.
“Our Digital Bill of Rights will ensure Floridians are protected from the overreach and surveillance we have seen from Big Tech companies,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Today’s proposal builds on our efforts to stop Big Tech censorship and combat the malign influence of China through the removal of nefarious platforms like TikTok from any state supported activity.”
“Big Tech has gone unchecked for too long and has been reckless with our data, causing major concerns about privacy and potentially jeopardizing sensitive state information,” said Attorney General Ashley Moody. “I’m proud to stand with Governor DeSantis today to give Silicon Valley a reboot and announce an audacious plan to protect Floridians and keep our children safe online.”
“The Governor’s proposed Digital Bill of Rights is an important initiative that impacts so many citizens,” said Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Mark Glass. “This tremendous tool will empower Floridians to fight back against fraud online, to ensure that the information they receive is really what it seems, and to protect their children from malicious actors.”
Governor DeSantis has also directed the Department of Management Services (DMS) to issue a formal recommendation to state agencies to implement all necessary safeguards to block access to applications and software tied to China, including TikTok, WeChat, and QQ, from all state devices. DMS will also prevent network connections to servers associated with foreign countries of concern.
These executive actions and legislative proposals build upon legislation signed by Governor DeSantis in 2021 that required social media companies to be transparent about their content moderation practices, allowed the Attorney General of Florida to bring action against technology companies that violate the law under Florida’s Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act, and prohibited the de-platforming of Floridian political candidates. The Governor also took action in September to prohibit government entities from procuring technology products and services from companies owned by, controlled by, or domiciled in foreign countries of concern, including China.