Facebook’s ex privacy officer blasts its new moves; MySpace adds privacy officer

It’s a newsy morning in the world of chief privacy officers and social networks.

Facebook’s former chief privacy officer Chris Kelly, who is running for California Attorney General, criticized the company’s new “instant personalization” program. The new initiative automatically shares user data with third parties to create social experiences on other sites like Pandora and Yelp. While it’s possible to opt-out, Kelly’s words suggest he favored an opt-in model instead.  He added that the social network wouldn’t get any favorable treatment if he was elected.

His full statement is here:

I strongly encourage Facebook to structure all its programs to allow Facebook users to give permission before their information is shared with third parties.

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.

Facebook’s recent changes to its privacy policy and practices with regard to data sharing occurred after I left the company. My principle for evaluating these changes in the law enforcement role of Attorney General will be based on the same views of consumer protection that I upheld when I represented Facebook — do they meet the requirements of consumer protection law by giving users meaningful control over their personal information?

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. As Attorney General, I will represent the citizens of the state of California to protect consumers from fraud and other corporate malfeasance. Any company that breaks the law, including Facebook, will face the full extent of the state’s prosecutorial powers.”

And in related news, Facebook’s old rival MySpace, which has seen its star fade over the past few years, has promoted its vice president of business and legal affairs, Jennifer Mardosz, to a newly-created chief privacy officer position. The company said she’ll be responsible for managing the risks and business impacts of privacy laws and policies for MySpace.


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