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Quick signatures were needed if the software giant wanted to move forward with a new law enforcement client: the New York Police Department, according to sources familiar with the situation and emails reviewed by Protocol. A New York City police spokesman did not respond to several requests for comment.

“We apologize for the tight schedule and understand that we are asking for your help over the weekend,” former Chief of Staff Jim Alkove wrote to employees.

Signatures were also required for employees to continue working in the government division. The warning from above was clear: those who did not sign would have to move to another department.

The document in question dealt with a covert obstacle that the technology industry has to navigate with clients such as the NYPD: Criminal Justice Information Services or CJIS, an FBI division that stores fingerprints, documents and other data and evidence used, among others . law enforcement activities, review the history of suspected criminals.

In order for a software provider to work, for example, with a city’s local prison system, engineers in these accounts are required to provide their personal data, including social security numbers, to the CJIS for criminal records and credit checks. . It’s similar to the permission tech workers need to work with federal agencies, known as FedRAMP.

But unlike FedRAMP, clients like the NYPD can add additional requirements, such as banning anyone who has filed for bankruptcy from working in the account, which makes the CJIS process more ad hoc. That prevented Salesforce from being able to implement a standardized process, according to sources.

“Trust is our number one value and we take the protection of our clients ‘data very seriously. Safeguarding our clients’ data includes compliance with various regulatory programs, such as the Criminal Justice Information Services Security Policy (CJIS). ), which may impose additional requirements on Salesforce employees, “a Salesforce spokesman said in an email.

After receiving a detailed summary of the information in this story, the spokesman declined to comment further.

CJIS in the brain

Immersion in CJIS-related work is part of a broader Salesforce attempt to gain more government business, including top-secret work with agencies such as the State Department. The company has at least 12 pending agreements with CJIS-related customers, including the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, according to a source familiar with the pipeline.

However, the company is struggling to drive employee support for subsequent requirements that go along with its deeper push into the law enforcement industry. As a sign of the struggles facing Salesforce, neither the company nor the New York City police would confirm whether the deal discussed during last December’s meeting is still active.

To get more public sector customers, Salesforce has to show that it can meet the requirements of the NYPD and others. But the December effort sparked alarms among some that eventually led to several employees being displaced from the government’s cloud division for refusing to sign the contract and submit their personal information, sources said. Salesforce declined to comment on employee issues.

With only a few hours to review a contract fatter than “War and Peace,” some engineers delayed. Salesforce executives ended up having to hold a city council meeting on Dec. 13 to address employee questions, sources said.

Engineers were asked to fill out what was equivalent to booking forms, sources said, including a list of any of their visible tattoos or scars.

Ultimately, workers had more time to review and sign the contract. But some employees questioned the urgent timing that Salesforce transmitted. For example, the documents included the signature of an executive who had left months earlier, indicating that Salesforce had long awaited this confrontation, from a source, and a Slack channel to which employees had access showed executive conversations about the pending mandate. several months before.

Many of the employees’ questions focused on how their information would be used, the protocols established to safeguard it, how long it would be stored, and ultimately open to unauthorized credit or background checks. Salesforce, sources said, provided few answers.

The other obvious problem with CJIS, they argued, is that each potential customer may have a separate list of requirements for additional information and subsequent claims that could prevent an individual from working on the account. FedRAMP, on the other hand, has a uniform list of requirements that all companies must meet.

It’s also a problem that some rivals and close partners don’t have. Other vendors, including cloud vendors, probably do not have to send employee information to the CJIS system despite working with similar customers. This is because AWS, Microsoft, and Google have, in essence, stricter guarantees that prevent their own employees from accessing customer information.

“Cloud service personnel are unlikely to have unencrypted access to unencrypted criminal justice information,” an FBI spokesman told Protocol. AWS, Microsoft, and Google Cloud spokespersons did not respond to multiple email queries.

However, Salesforce engineers can access this data to help with maintenance and support, according to a source familiar with its internal operation. It is also difficult to prevent engineers from accessing specific accounts as different systems share an underlying infrastructure that makes it difficult to build such firewalls, according to sources. Salesforce, however, is trying to move some self-hosted programs to FedRAMP systems owned and managed by AWS, according to one source.

The third time is the charm

The NYPD had strict rules about who could work on the account. For example, anyone who had a motion violation with a fine of more than $ 300 or who filed for bankruptcy was banned from working with the client, according to sources.

Some employees immediately turned down. At the same time, it was not a new request for many in the room.

According to sources, Salesforce had attempted a similar move twice before: one, in 2017, with the Philadelphia Prisons Departments, and another, years later, for a client that could not be independently verified through Protocol.

The contract with the Philadelphia Prisons Department failed in the midst of employee resistance. Engineers were asked to fill out what was equivalent to booking forms, sources said, including a list of any of their visible tattoos or scars. Since Salesforce employees were technically contractors, it was the only way the prison system could process the necessary background and credit checks.

However, a spokesman for the Philadelphia Prisons Department denied that was the reason for the deal to fall apart.

“The contract was not terminated because employees were reluctant to provide their personal information to CJIS,” they said in an emailed statement. The spokesman declined to comment further, citing ongoing litigation with the company. Salesforce declined to comment.

But it’s clear the company may not have been prepared for employee resistance.

One of the requirements of the CJIS, for example, is employee fingerprints. Salesforce suggested storing all applicable employee fingerprints on a separate, encrypted laptop. This, together with an agreement signed by the employees, would then make it easier for the company to provide the data of its employees to future customers. Engineers, however, saw it differently and stepped back. The idea was finally shelved.

The push to land in New York City police, along with hiring related functions, is a clear sign that Salesforce is eager to win more law enforcement business. Salesforce is also trying to increase its work with other federal agencies. For example, the company is currently hiring for a position in “Project Blackjack,” the code name for Salesforce for a top-secret initiative with the State Department.

The effort to delve deeper into the law enforcement industry comes at an interesting time for Salesforce. Employees go public with their disappointment at the company’s work with the NRA after the Uvalde shooting. And with the reputation of law enforcement tarnished for some unrepaired, Salesforce’s growth ambitions could once again clash with their beloved cultural values.

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