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August 21, 2018

Salesforce Protests Planned Amid Sting of Association with US Border Agency

Customs and Border Protection signed up Salesforce in March to lead its digital modernisation platform

By CBR Staff Writer

Salesforce has become the latest technology company to be targeted for supplying their services to US Customs and Border Protection; just the latest instance of corporate reputational risk resulting from association with the agency.

Activists, with the support of Greenpeace among other groups, are calling for protests of Salesforce’s upcoming Dreamforce conference in San Francisco on September 25.

A website is live and is trying to crowdfund money to take out bus advertisements to coincide with the conference.

See also: Microsoft ICE Contract Draws Fire

The site has an open letter to the company published which states: “We are absolutely appalled that Salesforce is providing assistance to government agencies that are violating human rights and is refusing to drop the contract with Customs and Border Protection.”

“We cannot, in good conscience, ignore this issue…As Salesforce customers and potential customers, we urge you to cut your contract with Customs and Border Protection. We will not be quiet until you do.”

The letter is signed by a range of Salesforce customers, along with Greenpeace, Catholic Charities of St. Petersburg and the New York State Nurses Association to name a few. Fight for the Future, an advocacy group, appears to be coordinating the campaign against the company.

US Customs and Border Protection Contract

In March this year US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced it had selected Salesforce to be its digital modernisation platform.

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Linda Jacksta Office of Human Resource Management at CBP commented in the release that: “In this competitive hiring environment, it is critical for law enforcement agencies to embrace new technologies as a tool for accomplishing their mission—and CBP is no exception.”

While Salesforce’s Dave Rey, EVP for Public Sector also commented: “There is a huge opportunity for government agencies to modernize so they can meet the expectations of today’s digitally savvy employees and citizens”

“By deploying Salesforce, CBP is empowering its employees with a modern CRM platform that will boost engagement, information sharing and productivity.”

Contract Triggers Employee Campaign

This sparked employees at Salesforce to write an open letter signed by 650 Salesforce employees, which was obtained by Buzzfeed. The signatories stated:  “We are particularly concerned about the use of Service Cloud to manage border activities.”

“Given the inhumane separation of children from their parents currently taking place at the border, we believe that our core value of Equality is at stake and that Salesforce should re-examine our contractual relationship with CBP and speak out against its practices.”

The dropsalesforce website seems to be an escalation of this protest which is now drawing in not just the employees, but Salesforce customers.

The site has set up eight automatic tweet links that people are using to tweet their displeasure at the company’s CEO Marc Benioff.

It is also encouraging people to tweet at Al Gore, actor Adrian Grenier and singer who are all scheduled to talk at their conference.

Computer Business Review contacted Salesforce for commented, but at the time of writing had received no reply. Salesforce CEO Mar Benioff earlier this year tweeted that “we don’t work with CBP regarding separation of families.”

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