What is the Florida Privacy Restoration Act?
On Thursday, October 5, 2017, former Florida Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Bell filed public proposal #700698 with the 2017-18 Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) hereafter known as the “Florida Privacy Restoration Act.” The proposed amendment to Article 1, Sec 23 states:
“Every natural person has the right to be let alone and free from governmental intrusion into the person’s private life with respect to privacy of information and the disclosure thereof, except as otherwise provide herein. This section shall not be construed to limit the public’s right of access to public records and meetings as provided by law.”
The goal of the proposed amendment is to restore the original intent of the drafters and framers of Florida’s Privacy Amendment and the people who adopted it – to safeguard informational privacy and to protect against the collection and/or disclosure of information by the government.
In the 37 years since the adoption of the privacy clause, the court has cited Article 1, Sec 23 in 52 cases. Only 23 of those cases dealt with the issue of informational privacy and in only one of those cases did the court rule rule in favor of an individual asking for the right to informational privacy. See Rasmussen vs South Florida Blood Service, 500 So.2nd 533 (Fla. 1987). A right to informational privacy was denied to litigants in the holdings of the other 22 cases.
The rapid growth of the invasion of individual privacy through various forms of surveillance and the monitoring of personal electronic devices warrants the court’s focused attention on this growing problem of widespread public concern. This amendment protects Floridians against governmental intrusion into a person’s private life in two ways: 1) by restricting the government’s ability to collect personal and private information and 2) by restricting governmental disclosure of such information.
Download the Florida Privacy Restoration Act (FPRA) White Paper for more information.
Other resources available:
Federal Privacy Rights in Florida
Legal Authorities on the Original Intent and Purpose of Florida’s Privacy Clause