Saturday, June 18, 2005

Putting the Feds in Fed Ex : Fed Ex is spying on you for the FBI

Apparently they've been taking the "Fed" Part of their name too seriously over at FedEx these days.

According to this Pittsburgh Post Gazette Article, Since 9/11, Fed ex has become a virtual subsidiary of the FBI, allowing it free run of their customers financial and personal information, spying on its customers and even opening packages for them with out a warrant:.

In December 2001,a FedEx driver became suspicious after making a series of deliveries of boxes tot he same addess. FedEx called the police. the police showed up at the FedEx depot with bomb- and drug-sniffing dogs. The dogs didn't signal there was anything illicit in the boxes.

Well never let it be said FedEx let lack of probable cause get in its way:

FedEx then invoked the authority granted to it by every customer, permitting it to inspect any package without a warrant.
With a police officer looking on, FedEx popped the carton. The boxes contained several hundred compact discs. Local police uncovered a CD-bootlegging operation.

And Fed Ex's enthusiasm for informing on its customers doesn't stop there:

By law, all express courier services are required to provide space for U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents at their facilities. Since 9/11, FedEx has gone further and has granted customs inspectors access to the company's database of international shipments, which includes the name and address of a shipper, the package's origin and its final destination.

The databases also include credit-card information and other payment details that the government is not entitled to solicit outside of a criminal investigation. "Our guys just love it," says one senior customs official

and you Remember the TIPS program? That creepy Idea Johnnie Ashcroft had to turn all of our delivery men and meter readers into government informants?

Well while most business recoiled in disgust and refused to participate; Fed Ex thought the Idea was just Dandy, and has quietly implemented it it:

After the collapse of TIPS, FedEx pressed ahead with its own program, one that embodied many of the same objectives, much to the delight of the government.
Mr. Bryden, the former security chief, says FedEx worked with Homeland Security officials last summer to develop a computer system that simplifies the reporting of suspicious behavior.

"We secure our supply chain and help the country," says Mr. Bryden. "And we believe that's exactly what our customers want."

yes I know that covert surveillance for shadowy law enforcement agencies is exactly the kind of customer service I expect from MY Package delivery company!

And if that doesn't scare you Fecal matter less consider this, Fed-ex's CEO is trying to take his Junior G-man act to a whole new level by gaining access to classified information.:

Mr. Smith, who started FedEx 34 years ago after two tours of duty in Vietnam as a Marine officer. He says FedEx is willing to cooperate with federal authorities "up to and including the line on which we would be doing a disservice to our shareholders."

In a recent article , Mr. Smith wrote that his fellow corporate leaders had a duty to report suspicious activity. It's only by "training and empowering our own employees" that terrorism can be contained, he wrote.

Mr. Smith also sees a quid pro quo: ... As the president of the Security Task Force of the Business Roundtable; Mr. Smith is leading a drive to gain access to the government's secret terrorist watch lists. He says they would be an invaluable tool to help companies screen employees.

Yes THAT terrorism Watch list the one That's riddled with errors and impossible to correct

that's the List Mr Smith want to use to decide who can get a job in America.

So far the FBI has been unwilling to share:

So far the FBI, which controls the lists, says there's no sign the government will grant access to the classified databases.

But That's hasn't deterred Mr. Smith, he just went an bought himself a police force:

FedEx already has access to some classified information through other channels.

Two years ago, after intense lobbying by FedEx of the Tennessee state legislature, the company was permitted to create a 10-man, state-recognized police force. FedEx police wear plain clothes and can investigate all types of crimes, request search warrants and make arrests on FedEx property. The courier cops say their main job is to protect company property and systems from abuse and fraud and help combat terrorists and criminals.

As a recognized police force in Tennessee, it has access to law-enforcement databases. FedEx also has a seat on a regional terrorism task force, overseen by the FBI, which has access to sensitive data regarding terrorist threats. Robert Bryden, the recently retired vice president of FedEx corporate security, says it's "remarkable" for a private company to have a seat on the task force. Across the country, FedEx is the only one, the FBI says.

and this leaves you shaking in your boots or loathing Fed Ex, Good. Its a very good first step. Personally I will send something by passenger pigeon before Fed Ex gets one more dime of my money. But that's not nearly enough. FedEx is just the tip of the iceberg.
More and more corporations like Wal-mart and Western Union are now selling you out to curry Gov't favor. And if that wasn't bad enough Congress is considering an expansion of the Patriot Act that would allow the FBI to demand businesses all act like FedEx turn over nearly any record they hold on you without a warrant

The Bush administration and Senate Republican leaders are pushing a plan that would significantly expand the FBI's power to demand business records without obtaining approval from a judge,

In other news, the 4th Amendment was named to the Federal Endagered Species list


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