Washington — A Florida judge has ruled the state’s new law regulating internet speech violates the First Amendment and federal law and should not take effect tomorrow. U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle said in a ruling issued Wednesday evening that the Florida law does not survive strict scrutiny and parts also are expressly preempted by federal law, and granted a preliminary injunction blocking the law.
The Computer & Communications Industry Association co-filed its lawsuit, motion for a preliminary injunction, and reply brief with NetChoice. The associations’ lawyers made their case Monday before the Tallahassee federal district court to stop the law from taking effect on July 1, in order to maintain the status quo while the parties litigate the broader legal issues.
By empowering bad actors to bring abusive lawsuits against digital services trying to protect users, the Florida statute would have paralyzed digital services’ trust & safety operations. This would have put American Internet users at greater risk to foreign disinformation and propaganda and extremism, predators and fraudsters, and viruses and malware, among other threats. It was slated to take effect July 1.
The Computer & Communications Industry Association supports free speech online, which includes the right for private businesses to meet their users’ expectations about what type of material is appropriate for their community.
The following can be attributed to CCIA President Matt Schruers:
“This decision upholding the Constitution and federal law is encouraging, and reaffirms what we have been saying: Florida’s statute is an extraordinary overreach, designed to penalize private businesses for their perceived lack of deference to the Government’s political ideology. The court’s ruling is a win for internet users and the First Amendment.”