Salesforce believes that it is up to the company's partners to deliver privacy protection for its customer service and sales applications, according to comments made at the firm's annual customer event in San Francisco last week.
Salesforce chief executive Marc Benioff was asked at Dreamforce during a press Q&A how Salesforce will stop businesses using the firm's customer relationship management cloud applications to intrude into their customers' private lives.
The question followed updates to Salesforce's Chatter business collaboration platform that allow organisations to gain more in-depth views of customers by tracking social networks including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Companies such as telcos will soon be able to use Social Customer Profiles to access information such as what their customers have 'Liked' on Facebook, who they are connected to on LinkedIn, and photos they have posted on social networks.
But Benioff argued that Salesforce should not be responsible for providing tools to monitor the amount of information businesses collect about their customers.
"Our job is to build the platform and applications. Other tools can build in security. It depends a lot on the philosophy [of the partners]. Each has to find their own way. We're in a new world," he said.
Benioff suggested that questions about the extent to which the internet should be regulated are still being debated, and that there is no clear path for companies when it comes to the degree of privacy protection that should be offered to customers.
"There is a middle ground, and it is up to the youth to show us the way," he said.
Meanwhile, Neelie Kroes, vice president of the Digital Agenda at the European Commission, argued that vendors could engender more trust in cloud computing by making customers aware of who is delivering all the "technical instruments".
"Customers need to be involved in trust and security questions," she added.
Kroes, speaking during a Dreamforce panel discussion, added that there are "great cost savings" for European companies that embrace the cloud, and that the EC will publish its cloud strategy next year.
Kroes confirmed that former US government chief information officer Vivek Kundra will be one of the advisors to this strategy.
Kundra, also speaking as part of the panel, explained that the US government has established a "cloud-first policy" which "recognises that most of the innovation is happening out of the traditional model of computing".
The US General Services Administration Recovery Board and the US Department of Agriculture had cut costs by $42m just by moving email to the cloud, he added.
The US government could save up to $5bn over the next five years by moving IT systems to the cloud, according to Kundra.
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