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Florida Legislature Aims to Alter Privacy Rights: The Impacts on Your Business [Lowndes Tech]

March 05, 2021

Lowndes attorney Drew Sorrell discusses how House Bill 969 in the Florida Legislature will affect the way businesses handle consumer data.

As of this writing, the Florida Legislature is poised to enact House Bill 969 (2021), which will fundamentally affect consumer data privacy rights in Florida. Governor DeSantis has expressed his support for the new legislation that he supposes is aimed at “Big Tech” companies but that in actuality will likely sweep small and midsized companies into its coverage at great expense. Should he sign the bill, Florida will move closer to California in its treatment of consumer data privacy.

Strikingly similar to California’s Consumer Privacy Act or CCPA (now the California Consumer Privacy Rights Act or CCPRA), HB 969 will apply to for-profit businesses doing business in Florida that collect “personal information”1, about consumers, and meet one of the following three thresholds:

  1. Global gross revenues in excess of $25 million dollars (adjusted periodically for CPI);
  2. Deals in2 the information of 50,000 or more consumers, households or devices; or,
  3. Derives 50% or more of its global revenues from selling or sharing personal information about consumers.

While the first two somewhat suggest only larger businesses will be affected, the third factor could quite easily sweep in much smaller technology and data business.3,4 Note, too, that the bill’s definition of a business includes several factors that pull related businesses into the analysis of whether any given “business” meets the thresholds. Given that the first 16 pages of the 37-page bill consist of definitions, this is only a brief summary of the bill’s workings. [Read more]

This is an excerpt from a blog post originally written on Lowndes Tech.

This article is informational only. You should consult an attorney before acting or failing to act. The law may change rapidly and no warranty is given. LOWNDES DISCLAIMS ALL IMPLIED WARRANTIES AND WITHOUT LIMITATION, ANY WARRANTY OF FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. ALL ARTICLES ARE PROVIDED AS IS AND WITH ALL FAULTS. Consult a Lowndes attorney if you wish to establish an attorney/client relationship.

Drew Sorrell is a seasoned business lawyer with particular expertise in technology, cybersecurity and privacy issues. With an MBA in marketing and finance, he approaches clients’ legal issues with both a practical business bent and a self-described geeky love of technology.

Drew enjoys working with CLO’s, CIO’s, CTO’s and technology owners at businesses of all sizes in every phase of their legal needs. He assists them on the front end, drafting and negotiating software licenses, Internet service provider agreements, data privacy/breach policies and procedures, and employment/services agreements as well as the indemnity and insurance coverage related to those agreements. He advises clients on the GDPR and state-specific regulations, penetration testing and security audits. He also has years of experience handling matters when things go wrong, including data breaches, privacy issues and other technology or software problems.

A founding member of the Sedona Conference Group 11 (Privacy/Data Security), Drew is frequently asked to speak and write on legal and ethical issues arising from technology, including unfair and deceptive trade practices, data breach, privacy, data governance, and technology contract drafting. He is chair of the firm’s multi-disciplinary Data Governance Group as well as the past chair of the Orange County Bar Association’s Intellectual Property, Business Law and Technology Committees.

Outside the technology arena, Drew has substantial expertise in both contracts and commercial litigation. In addition, he has experience assisting clients with government contracting. Drew began his legal career as a judicial clerk to Senior United States District Judge John H. Moore II, in Jacksonville, Florida, and then practiced with an AmLaw top 10 firm in Manhattan. After a stint as an assistant county attorney responsible for day-to-day legal advice and litigating civil issues for the county, Drew returned to Lowndes. Drew is admitted to practice in Florida, New York and the District of Columbia.

Born in Florida, Drew roots for his adopted football team—the FSU Seminoles (because neither Rollins nor George Washington has a football team). He is a proud father of two sons who play basketball and soccer, make great grades and generally keep him on his toes.

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