Is new media the new stepping stone to political office in California? First Meg Whitman, and now (it appears) Chris Kelly. Facebook's chief privacy officer took another step toward making a bid for the attorney general's office in California next year, announcing online Wednesday that he had launched a committee to explore entering the race.
In a video on his campaign website, he trumpets his experience at Facebook as a reason he is qualified, noting that in his four years as chief privacy officer he has "dealt first hand with complex legal challengesprivacy issues that affect California businesses and consumers" and has worked "closely with attorney generals from across the nation to make the Internet safer for all people." Unmentioned, of course, are some of the controversies under Kelly's watch, including the backlash over changes to Facebook's terms of service and the introduction of Beacon, a feature that many users thought was an invasion of privacy.
Those issues are almost certainly going to come up in an election campaign. Whitman, the former eBay (NSDQ: EBAY) CEO who is considering a run for governor in California, has been questioned on her record at the firm. Just Tuesday, Whitman had to defend the purchase of Skype in front of reporters, saying "we thought it was a bet worth making," according to The San Jose Mercury News. Kelly won't be leaving Facebook for the moment. But a spokesman says that Kelly will take a leave of absence or time off if he decides to devote himself full-time to the campaign.
By Joseph Tartakoff