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Salesforce joins Silicon Valley’s battle with the government

Salesforce.com (CRM) has joined the list of tech companies caught in a tug of war between its employees and the government. Over 650 employees sent a letter to Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff asking him to reconsider the company’s work with the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency in light of the recent family separation issues reportedly taking place at the US-Mexico border.

The cloud computing company has been collaborating with the CBP since March for its Analytics, Service Cloud and Community Cloud products. It also sells other products that can be used by government agencies including the Pentagon. Salesforce stated that it had no involvement in the family separation issues at the border and denied having any knowledge of its products being used for this purpose.

Salesforce has earned a reputation for being a progressive company through its efforts in supporting social issues such as equal pay and for raising its voice against homophobia. Employees have called on the company to distance itself from any form of ill-treatment towards weaker sections of society on account of this progressive culture.

Related: Salesforce stock jumps to all-time high amid UK investment plans 

The San Francisco, California-based software firm joins the growing list of tech companies that are caught up between progressive work cultures and lucrative government projects. Alphabet (GOOGL) subsidiary Google, Amazon (AMZN) and Microsoft (MSFT) have all been embroiled in similar issues recently over their work with different government agencies.

Amazon’s facial recognition technology Rekognition came under the spotlight when civil rights groups opposed its usage citing privacy concerns and chances of misuse. The city of Orlando announced that its pilot program of Rekognition has come to an end and that it would not continue the pilot program further due to civil liberties apprehensions. Orlando said the technology was not used in any investigation and that citizens’ photos were also not exposed to the application for any purpose.

Amazon’s Rekognition technology is still being used in Oregon where it is said to have helped solve law and order issues. The debate on whether tech companies should help the government or distance itself from government-related projects is ongoing.

Related: Tech giants facing backlash after collaborating with government agencies

Related: How much control does Google have on its AI projects?

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