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Show #2019-68 April 4, 2019

Here’s something you don’t hear every day. The software firm Salesforce.com is being sued by 50 women who allege it aided gangs that trafficked them for sex via the now-defunct website called Backpage.

They used salesforce.com’s software to keep its classified ads site running after its founders were arrested and accused of facilitating prostitution and money laundering.

Salesforce said it took the allegations “seriously” and was committed to “ethical” use of its products.

The lawsuit claims Salesforce.com did not properly vet Backpage, which was seized and shut down last year by US law enforcement.

Court documents accuse Salesforce.com of working closely with Backpage on the database that underlays the business. Salesforce.com is best known for making software that firms use to monitor and manage sales relationships with customers.

The connection between the two firms, the lawsuit alleges, continued even after 2013 when Backpage was first accused of being a hub for the trafficking of women.

An investigation suggested that as many as one in 20 of the relevant posts on some regional Backpage sites could have involved slavery victims.

The documents filed to the court also claim that Salesforce.com gave help to Backpage so it could reach new customers which, in this case, were gangs looking to sexually exploit women.

In a statement, Salesforce.com said it could not comment on pending litigation.

So much for the concept of safe applications on your phone.

Sometimes I think we are a little too trusting in that we see an app, think that it sounds interesting, install it and just assume that everything is just fine. Perhaps it would be a good idea to go through all your apps, have a good look at them, consider if they are bringing joy and happiness, and if not, remember to say thank you, and then hit the delete button.

Reporting for Computer Insider, I’m Bob Pritchard

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