California elections are certainly not foreign to last minute gaming and "flip flops" on policy positions, especially in the weeks leading up to a contentious primary like the one coming June 8, 2010. The race for Attorney General, just on the Democratic side, is loaded with seven candidates. The convenience of Chris Kelly's new alliance with the progressive organization MoveOn.org has not gone unnoticed as a disingenuous political play.
Yesterday, MoveOn.org released a letter from Chris Kelly, where he admonishes Facebook for not offering an "Opt In" system for user privacy management. While MoveOn.org has been publicly railing against Facebook's user privacy missteps over the last month, its new ties to Chris Kelly have angered some supporters who do not find this alliance with Kelly to be suitable to the progressive movement generally due to Kelly's history with user rights.
It is troubling that MoveOn.org would essentially partner with a candidate who has a track record of directing an organization that has repeatedly toyed with the privacy of its users and who has not fully distanced himself from Facebook. Chris Kelly's campaign ads touting his leadership at Facebook continue to air.
While Kelly may not currently be a part of the leadership team on these issues at Facebook, privacy missteps date back to the fall of 2006, first with News Feeds and followed by the widely criticized Beacon feature.
Consumer rights online continue to remain largely undefined and in a state that plays host to the heart of technological innovation, it is important that California be on the forefront of supporting the economic growth of Internet companies while at the same time preserving protection of consumer's rights online. The Attorney General is in a unique position to protect consumers.
While Kelly's change in opinion is certainly welcome, it does not stand to erase the decisions that were made under his leadership. California need not only get rid of its budget deficit, but its leadership deficit this November as well.
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