Facebook Privacy Chief Leaving to Run for California AG?

Chris Kelly, Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer who spent time this summer explaining Facebook’s privacy principles to Congress, is planning to announce his candidacy for the California Attorney General’s office, TechCrunch reports.

Kelly is certainly well connected in the state AG circles, having spent a lot of time over the last couple years working with state attorneys general to put together legislation that protects kids’ privacy online. Earlier this year, he helped get the KIDS Act of 2008 passed, which requires “all convicted sex offenders provide their email and instant messaging addresses as part of their registration with the National Sex Offender Registry.” Kelly wrote on the Facebook blog:

At Facebook, we’ve long barred registered sex offenders from our service. Currently, we work cooperatively with individual states’ attorneys general to check users against state-registered sex offender lists. Unfortunately, we both consistently find that these registries lack the essential email and IM data for comprehensive and rapid screening. The process is also less efficient and less effective than anyone, especially concerned parents, would like, which is why we’re such ardent supporters of the KIDS Act Registry.

Earlier this year, Facebook also struck an agreement with 49 state AGs to implement several features designed to protect children.

Facebook’s 140 million users place an immense amount of trust in the service not to share their personal information too broadly. Facebook has earned this trust by limiting profile access to friends and those in the same network since it launched and implementing robust privacy settings as the site has grown. Last week, an information security analysis firm named the company one of the 20 most trusted companies in America.

Facebook faces immense challenges on both the public policy and user fronts in the years ahead as it stewards such large volumes of personal information. Continuing to work with policy makers will be vital, particularly as the company continues to innovate on privacy and identity issues through Facebook Connect.