Facebook Gets Politics Lesson From Former Privacy Chief - InformationWeek

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5/4/2010
10:50 AM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
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Facebook Gets Politics Lesson From Former Privacy Chief

Facebook former chief privacy officer Chris Kelly is running for attorney general of the state of California, and in a recent blog post he tries, but not very convincingly, to distance himself from the intense criticism engulfing Facebook over its new data-sharing policies. If the privacy culture he fostered at Facebook crumbled so easily, what does that say about his potential as California's top cop?

Facebook former chief privacy officer Chris Kelly is running for attorney general of the state of California, and in a recent blog post he tries, but not very convincingly, to distance himself from the intense criticism engulfing Facebook over its new data-sharing policies. If the privacy culture he fostered at Facebook crumbled so easily, what does that say about his potential as California's top cop?Take a look at the second paragraph of Kelly's gratuitous and greezy post and you'll get an immediate sense of what I mean:

I'm proud of the work I did at Facebook to make the Internet safer and more secure. Because of Facebook and my work there, the Internet is a safer and more secure place today than when I joined the company.

So let's see: before Kelly, Facebook and the Internet were not so secure. With Kelly, "the Internet is a safer and more secure place today than when I joined the company." And now that Kelly's gone, he would have us believe, it appears that privacy hell is once more burnin' down the house at Facebook and across the entire Internet.

My goodness-who knew that one little person could have such an impact? And that his departure would immediately cause the heathens at Facebook to go back to their dastardly, pre-Kelly ways?

By Kelly's telling, Diogenes would have sprinted over mountains and swam the Atlantic Ocean to make a beeline for the one honest man standing between everyone else at Facebook and the unsuspecting public: "Facebook's recent changes to its privacy policy and practices with regard to data sharing occurred after I left the company."

He then goes on to call out Facebook and put it on notice that he'll be watching: "When I am Attorney General, Facebook, like every company, will have to comply with its obligations to adhere to the law, provide truthful information to consumers and to keep its promises about their privacy rights."

I don't know Chris Kelly but based on his self-serving comments, his center-of-the-universe view of himself, and his contention that all the credit belongs to him while the blame should go to others, he seems to be making the right decision because that profile is tailor-made for a life in politics.

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