The Obama administration’s understanding of the Fourth Amendment — prohibiting the government from conducting unreasonable searches and seizures — leaves a lot to be desired.
The Justice Department demands that the nation’s two largest courier delivery service companies — FedEx and UPS — report on the contents of customers’ sealed packages according to WND.com.
At issue is the delivery of prescription medicines from online pharmaciesto customers.
Although FedEx has a 40-year history of cooperating with authorities according to company spokesman Patrick Fitzgerald, this case is different. Moreover, criminal charges may be on their way — against the carriers.
“What is unusual and really disturbing is it became clear to us along the way that FedEx was being targeted for some level criminal activity as it relates to these medicines that are being shipped from pharmacies, and we find it to be completely absurd because it’s really not our role,” Fitzgerald said. “We have no way of knowing what is legal and not within the packages that we’re picking up and delivering in this situation.”
“At the heart of the investigation are sealed packages that are being sent by, as far as we can tell, licensed pharmacies. These are medicines with legal prescriptions written by licensed physicians. So it’s difficult for us to understand where we would have some role in this,” Fitzgerald explained. “We are a transportation company that picks up and delivers close to 10 million packages every day. They are sealed packages, so we have no way of knowing specifically what’s inside and we have no interest in violating the privacy rights of our customers.”
The FedEx representative said the heart of the issue wasn’t just online pharmacies but rather the privacy of his customers.
“This really has a chilling effect. It has the potential to threaten the privacy of all customers that send or receive packages via FedEx because the government is assigning a role on us as law enforcement or taking on their role in a way that is not appropriate,” Fitzgerald said.
FedEx’s attempts to find a middle ground hit a brick wall.
“If the government were to come to us and give us the name of a customer that’s engaged in some level of illegal activity, we can immediately stop shipping for that customer,” Fitzgerald said. “What we want here is a solution that will apply for the entire industry and serve the public’s interest.”
FedEx suggested that the Justice Department provide it with a list of names of online pharmacies suspected of engaging in criminal activity, likening it to a “no-fly list” provided to commercial airlines.
“What we want here is the no-fly list for online pharmacies,” Fitzgerald said, but the government wouldn’t provide one.
“We find it completely absurd and, to a large degree, stunning that the government is not working with us on that solution as they have with other problems in the past. As long as they’re not doing that, there’s really no solution…”
Although UPS is currently negotiating a settlement with the Justice Department, with FedEx, “Settlement is not an option for us when there’s no illegal activity on our part,” Fitzpatrick said.
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