The politics of Facebook are nothing compared to the politics of the state of California, but as Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer, Chris Kelly has had plenty of experience in dealing with the social network’s ongoing negotiations with Attorneys General around the U.S. According to TechCrunch, Kelly plans to run for the office of Attorney General of California in the 2010 election as a Democrat, whereupon he would leave Facebook mid-2009 in order to run his campaign.
With previous experience as an attorney at Baker & Mckenzie and Wilson Sonsini, and as an education adviser in the Clinton Administration, the private and public sectors are both familiar to Kelly. At Facebook, Kelly has had his fair share of work to do, dealing with Facebook’s privacy issues which have become especially concerning in the past year or so due to new marketing campaigns and cooperative platforms.
But as President Elect Obama has already declared his hopes for technological initiatives and obvious support of social networks, having people like Kelly (who have had experience on both sides of the coin) could help usher in a new era of authorities that are more aware of web-based and technological issues and concerns. Such could be a welcome change from what we’ve seen in years past, especially as intangible services that live in the Internet often come with a bevy of worried interest groups and proposed legislation that has to deal with the burgeoning world wide web.
I imagine that the very news of Kelly’s plans to run for Attorney General of California could become a conflict of interest for Facebook, and may result in the company’s need to seek out a replacement for its Chief Privacy Officer position.