Around two years ago, Broward County, Florida permitted Uber to operate at the local airport as long as they paid the respective county and kept monthly business records. Traditional taxi service companies, like Yellow Cab, were not pleased with this state of affairs and initiated a public records request. Uber stated these records were trade secrets and did not have to be disclosed. A Florida judge felt differently and ruled these documents were not trade secrets and did have to be made public. Uber is planning on appealing the decision.
That the case occurred in Florida is particularly relevant for several reasons. Florida has an interesting, seemingly contradictory, approach to both public records and trade secrets. The state mandates that government agencies must make their transactions public bar some exceptions which include trade-secrets. Interestingly, the Florida Statutes actually states that the disclosure of trade-secrets is a felony. Furthermore in 2016, Florida, with the desire to attract business, ruled some types of financial information were trade-secrets.
With this decision and Florida’s policies in mind, it will be interesting to see how companies react. While some of Florida’s protections for maintaining financial information’s confidentiality encourage businesses to operate in Florida or while this case frighten them?