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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

Florida legislature introduces comprehensive privacy bill

State Issues State Legislation Privacy/Cyber Risk & Data Security Biometric Data Consumer Protection

State Issues

On February 15, the Florida legislature filed HB 969, which would, among other things, regulate the sale and sharing of consumers’ personal data. Highlights of the bill include:

  • Applicability. The bill will apply to for profit businesses that do business in the state, collect consumers’ personal information (“or is the entity on behalf of which such information is collected”), and (i) have global annual gross revenues exceeding $25 million; (ii) annually buy, receive, sell, or share for commercial purposes, personal information of at least 50,000 consumers, households, or devices; or (iii) derive 50 percent or more of its gross revenue from the sale of personal information. Notably, data governed by certain federal regulations and specified protected health information are exempt from coverage.
  • Consumer rights. Under the bill consumers will be able to, among other things, access their personal data; have available at least two methods for requesting personal information free of charge within a certain timeframe; make corrections; request deletion of their data; obtain a copy of their data in a portable format; and opt out of third-party disclosure of their personal information collected by businesses. Businesses will also be prohibited from selling or disclosing the personal information of minor consumers, except in certain circumstances, and will be prohibited from taking certain discriminatory actions against consumers who exercise certain rights. Additionally, the bill will provide that contracts or agreements that waive or limit certain consumer rights are void and unenforceable.
  • Disclosures. The bill will require businesses that collect consumers’ personal data to disclose certain information regarding data collection and selling practices to consumers at or before the point of collection. This information “may be provided through a general privacy policy or through a notice informing the consumer that additional specific information will be provided upon a certain request.” Businesses will also be prohibited from collecting or using additional categories of personal information without first notifying consumers.
  • Security. Under the bill, businesses will be required “to implement reasonable security procedures and practices” to protect consumers’ personal information. The definition of “personal information” will also be revised “to include additional specified information to data breach reporting requirements.”
  • Private cause of action. The bill will provide “a private right of action for consumers whose nonencrypted and nonredacted personal information or e-mail addresses are subject to unauthorized access,” and will allow consumers to bring a civil action for injunctive or declaratory relief, as well as damages that must be at least $100 but not more than $750 per consumer per incident or actual damages, whichever is greater. The Department of Legal Affairs is also authorized to seek civil penalties of no more than $2,500 for each unintentional violation or $7,500 for each intentional violation. However, fines may be tripled if a violation involves consumers 16 years of age or younger.
  • Right to cure. Upon notification of any alleged violation of the law, businesses have 30 days to cure the alleged violation.

If enacted in its current form, the bill would take effect January 1, 2022. Florida is just one of several states that have recently introduced or advanced privacy legislation (continuing InfoBytes coverage available here).

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