WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA — Yesterday, Governor Ron DeSantis announced his proposal to protect Floridians’ digital rights and privacy from Big Tech companies. The proposal would create a Digital Bill of Rights focusing on protecting Floridians’ privacy, protecting minors from online predators and eliminating unfair censorship.
Speaking at Palm Beach Atlantic University, DeSantis said the proposal would also ban the use of TikTok and other social media platforms with ties to China from all state government devices, and through internet and WiFi services at colleges, universities, and public schools. In addition, state and local government employees would be prohibited from coordinating with Big Tech companies to censor protected speech.
PROTECTION FROM SURVEILLANCE
“Our Digital Bill of Rights will ensure Floridians are protected from the overreach and surveillance we have seen from Big Tech companies,” said Governor 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.”
Attorney General Ashley Moody expressed concern that 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.”
The governor 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.
“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.”