Suwannee Valley Times is distributed into the following cities and towns: Lake City, Live Oak, Madison, Branford, Dowling Park, Falmouth, Lee, Wellborn, Jasper, White Springs, Fort White, High Springs and Alachua

DeSantis proposes legislation to

Ban TikTok from state government devices

Staff Reports

Governor Ron DeSantis recently announced his proposal to protect Floridians’ digital rights and privacy from Big Tech companies by creating a Digital Bill of Rights that focuses on protecting Floridians’ privacy, protecting minors from online harms, and eliminating unfair censorship. The proposal also bans the use of TikTok and other

social media platforms with ties to China from all state government devices, and through internet services at colleges, universities, and public schools, and prohibits state and local government employees from coordinating with Big Tech companies to censor protected speech. This proposal is for the 2023 Florida Legislative Session that begins in this month.

     “Our Digital Bill of Rights will ensure Floridians are protected from the overreach and surveillance we have seen from Big Tech companies,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “…(This) 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.”

     Governor DeSantis has also 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.

     These executive actions and legislative proposals build upon legislation signed by Governor DeSantis in 2021 that required social media companies to be transparent about their content moderation practices, allowed the Attorney General of Florida to bring action against technology companies that violate the law under Florida’s Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act, and prohibited the de-platforming of Floridian political candidates. The Governor also took action in September to prohibit government entities from procuring technology products and services from companies owned by, controlled by, or domiciled in foreign countries of concern, including China.