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Brandes will seek broader privacy protections in 2014

Citing two recent cases in which Floridians' personal privacy was violated, Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, says he will file legislation in the 2014 session to expand personal privacy. 

Brandes noted recent breaches in which confidential student records and personal information on a prescription drug database were released, saying they have underscored the need for legislation to increase oversight of personal information given to third parties, as well as requiring extensive disclosure of warrantless data acquisition by the state from third parties. 

"Personal information is being given to third parties for many reasons and this information often lacks comprehensive protection under the law," Brandes said in a news release.

The first-term Pinellas senator has made civil liberties a priority. He filed a bill in the 2013 session that would have required police to obtain a search warrant before searching the contents of portable devices such as cell phones following an arrest. Florida sheriffs mounted an aggressive effort in opposition to the bill (SB 846) but the state Supreme Court issued a ruling requiring search warrants in such cases in the case of Smallwood v. State.

-- Steve Bousquet