While there have been customer complaints about the usefulness of the postal service’s package tracking web site, it seemed to work well enough for Massachusetts resident Harold Bates, who used it to track parcels he was expecting from China. The parcels in question, however, happened to contain illegal drugs- and it apparently didn’t occur to Bates that by tracking them online, he was leaving a trail:
According to a court memorandum from April, Bates’s case began when US Postal Service investigators opened a suspicious package containing methylone, a synthetic stimulant similar to MDMA, and found that an IP address originating from Bates’s home in Massachusetts had been tracking the parcel, and others like it, sent from Hong Kong. Bates also received USPS notifications about the package’s status on his personal email account.
Bates asked a judge to suppress the packages as evidence claiming they had been illegally “sniffed” by a drug detecting dog without a warrant. The judge disagreed, and the case will proceed.