Florida Data Privacy Bills In Retreat

Private beach

Lawmakers attempted to pass a Florida data privacy law in early 2020. Recently, many countries around the world enacted privacy laws to protect the data of consumers. So far, there are only a handful of states in the U.S. to enact a law to protect the personal information of their residents.

In late 2019, the Florida House of Representatives introduced HB 963 with the title “Consumer Data Privacy” to protect the personal information of Florida residents. In early 2020, the Florida Senate introduced a duplicate bill under SB 1670.

Florida’s attempt to pass a data privacy law failed. The Florida House “indefinitely postponed” HB 963 and withdrew the bill from consideration. On March 14, 2020, HB 963 died in the Oversight, Transparency, and Public Management Subcommittee. At the same time, the Florida Senate also “indefinitely postponed” SB 1670 and withdrew the bill from consideration. As a result, SB 1670 died in the Commerce and Tourism Committee.

The proposed Florida law aimed to prohibit “the use of personal data contained in public records for certain marketing, soliciting, and contact without the person’s consent.”  If Florida passed the law, covered operators of a commercial website or online service would have to post a Privacy Notice to explain their data collecting and sharing practices. Additionally, the law would require operators to establish a method to allow consumers to opt-out of having their personal data sold.

The Proposed Florida law copied Nevada

Both of the Florida privacy bills seemed to be an incomplete version of the existing Nevada privacy law. The Nevada privacy legislation became law in 2017 and received an update in 2019. Likewise, the Nevada privacy law includes similar definitions of:

  • A consumer
  • An operator
  • Notice requirements
  • Covered information
  • A sale of covered information
  • A designated request address for consumers to send opt-out requests
  • A verified request for an operator’s response to consumer opt-out requests

Unlike the Nevada law, the proposed Florida privacy law would prohibit marketers from using public records to market or solicit the sale of products to an individual. Further, a marketer could not contact the individual without having consent. However, like the Nevada law, the Florida privacy law would not establish a private right of action against an operator.

Florida residents need protection from data brokers that exploit the personal information of consumers. Hopefully, Florida’s next attempt at establishing a data privacy law will go beyond the limits of the Nevada law.

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Alice is a member of the Florida Bar, and she focuses on data privacy and cybersecurity compliance in her law practice. She attended the Warrington College of Business at the University of Florida and earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. After graduating, she earned a Juris Doctor at the Stetson University College of Law. During law school, she served as an Assistant Executive Editor for Stetson Law Review and also as a Staff Editor for Stetson Journal of Advocacy and the Law. She currently serves as Chair of The Florida Bar Journal/News Editorial Board.