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Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff Calls for National Privacy Law

Speaking on CBS This Morning today with Gayle King, Norah O’Donnell and John Dickerson, Salesforce Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff called for a national privacy law.

“You can see that our industry is going through a very significant crisis of trust. We’ve seen that over the last year with Uber and Facebook and other companies,” Benioff said. “In some ways, you could say that Facebook has become the new cigarettes in our industry. That is, it’s a technology that is addictive, it may not be that great for you and it might be something you don’t want to go back to. Maybe it’s time for the government to step in and regulate not just that product but our industry.”

“We really need in this country a national privacy law,” he said. “You can see it’s going into effect in Europe with GDPR. That means in Europe your data belongs to you, but in the United States, your data belongs to all these companies that are collecting it, and they can do with it basically whatever they want. That’s a shift we have to make. You can see that’s about to happen in California where I am from. There is a statewide privacy law that is moving its way to voters. But what we need is a national privacy law. It’s not just going to protect the tech industry, it’s going to protect all the consumers, and ultimately our kids, which is really what this is all about. We know that all these companies are looking to bring kids into their social networks as well.”

Benioff also called for regulations to address advances in artificial intelligence. “I see huge advancements that are happening every day in our industry. You could see that last week with Google Duplex. It was the most amazing AI technology I’ve seen. It’s indistinguishable from a human being when you are talking to it. Many people in the computer industry feel that it passed the Turing Test—that means ‘is that a human or a computer.’ If we are at that point we have to have better regulations and controls. The Europeans understand that. It’s time for Americans to understand that too.”

A national privacy law would require that companies disclose how they collect your information, use your information, and offer a right-to-be-forgotten, Benioff explained. “If you want to delete your information, you could hit that button and be sure your data is gone forever.”

Benioff also discussed gender equality and the role of chief executives. “CEOs need to be held accountable for making sure that they are equally paying men and women,” he said. “It’s also about preventing sexual harassment. You can’t have gender equality without knowing you have psychological safety in your workplace.”

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Q&A: Salesforce’s Data Protection Officer on Trust, GDPR and How Privacy Found Her


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