The US Postal Service (USPS) has been caught running a secret spy program to collect and track Americans’ social media posts – including posts about upcoming protests, according to evidence obtained by Yahoo News.
The surveillance program – ran by the police section of USPS, known as iCOP which is short for “Internet Covert Operations Program” – was not publicly known until now according to the documents.
The work entails having analysts look at social media websites to find what the document says is “inflammatory” posts and then sharing that data with other agencies. -Yahoo News
“Analysts with the USPS iCOP investigated significant activity surrounding planned protests happening domestically and internationally., said a government bulletin, labeled as “law enforcement sensitive” and given throughout the DHS fusion centers.
“Time and locations have been identified for such events, which are being given online across numerous social media platforms, to include right-wing Telegram and Parler accounts.”
The document includes screenshots of posts about protests from Telegram, Parler, and other social media platforms, including Facebook.
“iCOP investigators are currently watching these social media platforms for any possible threats coming from protests and will give out intel updates as needed., reads the document.
“This is a mystery” says law professor Geoffrey Stone – who was appointed to investigate the NSA’s data collection after Snowden went public. “I don’t see why they would go to the Postal Service for internet issues.”
“There are other federal agencies that could handle this, I don’t see why the USPS would be doing it. You have the FBI, DHS and so on, so I don’t understand why the post office is doing this., he added.
Author: Blake Ambrose