Kamala Harris Accuses Opponent of Designing Facebook Privacy Policy

Kamala Harris Accuses Opponent of Designing Facebook Privacy Policy

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San Francisco D.A. and candidate for attorney general of California, Kamala Harris has accused Democratic opponent, Chris Kelly, of designing the Facebook privacy policy creating a stir among users.  In an ad released in the Los Angeles area last week, the Harris camp says “Chris Kelly released your private information.”

Robin Swanson, a spokesperson for the Kelly campaign, called the accusations “patently false.” Kelly began working for the social networking giant in 2005,  took a leave of absence in August 2009, and recently resigned in March.

The Los Angeles Times reports,

On Thursday, Kelly criticized Facebook’s privacy stance. In an e-mail to the liberal advocacy organization MoveOn.org, Kelly said he was troubled by Facebook’s plans to share certain user information with third-party businesses “without clear consent.”

Both Harris and Kelly have continued their debate at, of all places, Facebook. In a note posted on her campaign page, Kamala Harris addresses Facebook’s violation of user privacy as well as Beacon, a product launched by the company that publicized information about user online purchasing. She says,

In 2007, MoveOn called attention to Facebook’s now infamous “Beacon” tool, which exposed information about your online purchases. As a result of litigation, Beacon was ultimately removed.[3] Despite the ongoing efforts of MoveOn and others, Facebook continues to use “opt-out” mechanisms for important tools that affect your privacy.

The pattern is well-established. Over the last five years, Facebook has repeatedly made it difficult for you to protect your privacy.[4] This makes everyone less safe.

As a career prosecutor, I have seen the dangers of identity theft and violent crime that can result from weak privacy settings. Too many users—often teenagers and the elderly—unaware of “opt-out” settings and other complicated privacy controls, provide personal information for the world to see, including violent criminals.

For his part in Beacon, Kelly has publicly expressed remorse. And he’s also publicly criticized his former employers for their “instant personalization” settings.

Here is the ad:

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