US Postal Service is using its ‘law enforcement arm’ to covertly track Americans’ social media posts and flag ‘inflammatory’ messages to government agencies ahead of protests

  • A leaked bulletin details how the ‘law enforcement arm’ of the USPS collected data as part of the Internet Covert Operations Program or iCOP 
  • Analysts are said to have looked through posts on Facebook, Parler and Telegram flagging ‘inflammatory’ messages to government agencies
  • An alleged member of the right wing Proud Boys is named, among others who did not appear to have posted anything threatening in the memo 
  • It is unclear why the US Postal Inspection Service is putting resources into surveillance or how iCOP is funded; the USPS was hit hard by the pandemic 
  • One law professor said: ‘I don’t understand why the government would go to the Postal Service for examining the internet for security issues’
  • The US Postal Inspection Service said it ‘has federal law enforcement officers, Postal Inspectors, who enforce approximately 200 federal laws’ 
  • It adds that iCOP  ‘assesses threats to Postal Service employees and its infrastructure by monitoring publicly available open source information’