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New Florida law addresses technology transparency: What does that mean for you?

ORLANDO, Fla. — In just a couple of days, a new law will go into effect that’s designed to protect you and your kids on-line.

These days it seems everything we do is online.

Many of us visit hundreds of websites a year, and those sites collect our data, bits and bytes at a time.

“The government gets hacked all the time. Companies get hacked all the time. Like left and right there’s data breaches, like accidental leaks of information,” Shoshana Weissmann said.

Weissmann is with the R Street Institute, a think tank in Washington D.C., and she points out that online privacy has become a hot issue across the country, with several states, including Florida, passing their own online privacy laws.

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Much of Florida’s so-called “digital bill of rights” kicks in July 1st. Governor DeSantis signed the bill earlier in June.

“They make a lot of money selling your data. Well, you should have the right to say ‘no, I don’t want you selling my data,’” DeSantis said.

A big portion of the law is focused on consumer privacy protections. It gives you the right to deny and delete personal data from social media, requires companies to tell you if your online information is being used when making a major life decision, like buying a home. The bill also allows you to opt out of having your data sold.

Weissmann said there’s more to it, “You have a big piece focused on kids online, making sure that acquiring data of children is done in a safer way.”

While the law sets regulations for kids online, it doesn’t say exactly how age will be verified, creating a potential problem.

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The bill only applies to larger businesses making a billion dollars a year or more and businesses that are primarily accessed by children.

Weissmann says the intention is good but in practice it can be extremely difficult to implement.

She said it would make it even tougher on smaller businesses to verify ages and if people accessing the websites even live in Florida.

She believes a national bill of rights would be better than individual states each making their own set of rules. “So that companies aren’t like, ‘Okay, this state allows this but the state bans that and also bans this,’ and you know, trying to figure out the patchwork, it’s better to have one national law that kind of takes care of it,” Weissmann said.

Jeff Deal

Jeff Deal, WFTV.com

I joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in 2006.