[Rushtalk] Look who wants to open your PERSONAL PACKAGES
John A. Quayle
blueoval57 at verizon.net
Mon Mar 18 22:58:07 MDT 2013
Now Obama targets your FedEx, UPS packages
Shipper warns move 'has potential to threaten privacy of all customers'
Published: 4 hours ago
Testing at HomeWhy drive to the lab when you can test your PT/INR
levels at home?
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The Obama administration is demanding the nation's two biggest
companies police the contents of Americans' sealed packages, and a
FedEx spokesman is warning that the move "has the potential to
threaten the privacy of all customers that send or receive packages."
FedEx and UPS are in the Justice Department's cross-hairs for not
flagging shipments of illegally prescribed drugs the companies say
they had no way of knowing were in their possession.
Criminal charges could be coming against the carriers, even though
the government has not alleged any deliberate wrongdoing by the companies.
FedEx spokesman Patrick Fitzgerald said his company has a 40-year
history of actively assisting the government crackdown on any
criminal conduct, but he told WND this probe was very different from the start.
"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. We are a
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," Fitzgerald said.
In addition to the unrealistic expectation that the federal
government seems to have for the companies to know what's in every
package, Fitzgerald said protecting the rights of customers is
paramount and the issues go hand-in-hand.
"They clearly are attempting to put some responsibility for the
legality of the contents of these packages. That's why for us it goes
far beyond even just the online pharmacy situation. 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 sought to diffuse the standoff by offering to stop doing
business with any pharmacies that the government suspected to be
involved in illegal activities. The Justice Department declined,
citing the potential for the pharmacies to sue over a lack of due process.
"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. We will not tolerate any
illegal activity within our networks," Fitzgerald said. "What we want
here is a solution that will apply for the entire industry and serve
the public's interest. That's why we find it completely absurd and,
to a large
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 even if they were to pursue an
investigation or criminal charges against a specific company. There
needs to be an industry-wide solution that will put a stop to this problem."
That leaves FedEx and UPS with the task of stopping illegal shipments
from sources the government will not divulge.
"The comparison that we've made is a no-fly list. It's as if the
government were to go to major commercial airlines and accuse them of
some level of criminal activity if they were to allow somebody on the
no-fly list onto one of their planes without providing them a no-fly
list," Fitzgerald said. "What we want here is the no-fly list for
online pharmacies. If they are aware of some level of illegal
activity by some number of pharmacies, simply provide us that list
and we will stop providing service. It's a very simple solution."
Fitzpatrick said no other private carriers are being targeted by the
Justice Department, and he has no evidence to suggest this probe is
designed to boost the financially strapped U.S. Postal Service at the
expense of private competitors.
UPS is currently negotiating a settlement with the government, but
FedEx is fighting this all the way.
"Settlement is not an option for us when there's no illegal activity
on our part," Fitzpatrick said.
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