Individual and human rights in this country have evolved from national movements and national standards. The Fourteenth Amendment's application of rights to the states was a landmark in human rights, guaranteeing all citizens, no matter their state of residence, a baseline of protection. The Federal Constitution was the protector-“states' rights” was the code phrase for discrimination. But in the American crucible of cultural diversity a national standard for “community” may result in the lowest common denominator or a definition based on averaging. Would it not be better when the most individual of rights, privacy, is implicated to define that right within a more localized community-the state? This proposition does not suggest abandoning the federal level of protection. Some issues involving personal information and privacy have implications in interstate commerce in the new information society. Indeed, we cannot constitutionally lower the standard, but since privacy rights are so ill defined and that broader protection so limited, should not the states raise the level of protection for their citizens? The ten states that have individual textual standards are doing so with various degrees of daring. Florida has developed a broad jurisprudence of privacy in seventeen years, which provides the basis for future enhancement of individual protections. Florida citizens have put the words in the constitution and the Supreme Court has told us that the right is fundamental, extensive and far exceeds federal standards. If the constitution revision commission, the legislature, and others refrain from tampering, Florida has the chance to be a laboratory and a haven for one of the most threatened of rights in today's society.
Jon Mills, Sex, Lies, and Genetic Testing: What are Your Rights to Privacy in Florida?, 48 Fla. L. Rev. 813 (1996), available at http://scholarship.law.ufl.edu/facultypub/701