Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has declared a “Digital Bill of Rights” to limit Big Tech’s ability to censor or conduct surveillance in Florida.
TikTok and other social media sites with links to China would be banned in colleges, public schools, and state government under a proposed “Digital Bill of Rights” introduced by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Wednesday.
The “Digital Bill of Rights” takes aim at certain web platforms. DeSantis introduced the legislation during a news conference in West Palm Beach as a way to safeguard Floridians from Big Tech harm and Big Tech overreaches. DeSantis stated that he intends to defend Floridians’ freedom to “have private, in-person conversation without Big Tech surveilling you.” According to DeSantis, it’s your choice whether or not to provide them access to your personal data for marketing purposes, but they can’t do so without your permission.
DeSantis stated that they would preserve the freedom to engage in internet platforms without unjust censorship. “We want free speech.”
The Republican governor of Florida elaborated on the topic of openness regarding search engines and the measures made to safeguard Floridians when they are online.
DeSantis has advised that part of the legislation is to inform users better, to safeguard the right to know how these internet search engines are manipulating search results, and have transparency in what they’re doing so that Floridians can decide if that is the search engine they want to be using.
DeSantis claimed they want the right to secure all your information on the largest and most prevalent sites, like Google and Facebook. According to DeSantis, these companies are using your information to make millions. DeSantis believes they should ask for your permission before making money off the data or utilizing the data they collect.
Finally, the Republican said, the “Digital Bill of Rights” seeks to protect children from different online hazards, which is a significant concern. This statement was met with considerable cheers as it aligned with DeSantis’s push to protect children in public schools.
DeSantis continued by explaining the proposal’s specifics, including how the state government of Florida would prohibit digital firms from eavesdropping on citizens’ private conversations based on the words and phrases they use.
He detailed how the federal government’s ability to wiretap individuals’ devices differs from private firms. He explained that they are installing a roadblock that says they can’t proceed without your permission. In addition, they will restrict the unlawful data acquisition and retention of real-time information about a user via cell phones, such as GPS position, biometric data, and other forms of personally identifying information.
The governor’s pushback against Big Tech and their ability to restrict people and regulate the information they promote or what they allow you to see on their platforms is multifaceted, and the “Digital Bill of Rights” is only one piece of the puzzle.
Several years ago, DeSantis said they were the first state to take the lead and adopt legislation that did a handful of things to safeguard Floridians against Big Tech censorship. They had decided on some elements of legislation that indicated these internet platforms and these social media firms are not — by their admission – publishers. According to DeSantis, they had anticipated litigation that would have to be settled by the Supreme Court.
He claimed that they are not publishers because if they were publishers, they would not get Section 230 liability from lawsuits, so they hide under Section 230, saying they are not publishers and are open forums. DeSantis said that the truth had come out; without a doubt, they are not functioning as open platforms. His comment is a silent reference to the Twitter Files.
Next, he went into detail on how Big Tech muzzles conservative opinions.
He said that these corporations have laws and regulations, but they are weighed more heavily against those with whom corporations or the people who work for them disagree. DeSantis said that individuals with conservative beliefs had been removed, de-platformed, and shadowbanned.
DeSantis said they’ve argued that Florida has laws to protect consumers and prevent deceptive business practices. Advertising as an open platform means taking on the liability that you are not a publisher, that you will make money off of the personal information of individuals who sign up for your services, and that you will be committing fraud on those people if you subsequently de-platform them because of their beliefs. DeSantis stated that they had allowed Floridians who had been adversely affected to file consumer fraud suits against major technology companies. And they gave Florida’s attorney general the authority to crack down on Big Tech if they misbehaved. He assured Floridians that laws were in place to prevent political candidates from being “de-platformed.”
The “Digital Bill of Rights” is now before the courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hear the case soon. DeSantis cautioned that if you’re an open platform, you may create whatever rules you want; if you’re making rules and not enforcing them equitably but based on opinion, you are committing fraud on the public, and there should be a means for people to hold you responsible.
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