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Americans alarmed over social media snooping reportedly carried out by USPS

RT | April 23, 2021

Internet users are fuming over a report detailing an alleged covert program run by the US Postal Service which monitors Americans’ social media posts for activity deemed unsavory, including political rallies.

Known as the Internet Covert Operations Program (iCOP), the program tracks social media platforms for “inflammatory” content  and shares that information with government agencies, according to Yahoo News, citing internal documents. The initiative is run by the law enforcement arm of the USPS, the US Postal Inspection Service.

A March 16 government bulletin obtained by the news outlet details how iCOP monitored “significant activity” regarding anti-lockdown protests that were planned in cities around the country and internationally on March 20. The document, marked as “law enforcement sensitive” and distributed by the Department of Homeland Security, said that information about the demonstrations was being shared on multiple social media platforms, including “right-wing leaning Parler and Telegram accounts.”

The memo flagged several posts discussing how the protests could be used as an opportunity to engage in a “fight,” but concluded that there was no intelligence to suggest they were legitimate threats.

The US Postal Inspection Service declined to answer questions about the program submitted by Yahoo News, but explained that iCOP “[assesses] threats to Postal Service employees and its infrastructure by monitoring publicly available open source information.” It said that it works with law enforcement agencies to “proactively identify” such threats, but does not discuss its “protocols, investigative methods, or tools,” in order to maintain “operational effectiveness.”

While the Postal Service remains tight-lipped about the program, many on social media have demanded accountability from the government agency.

“This is ridiculous and dangerous. It must end immediately!” tweeted conservative pundit Robby Starbuck.

“How can this possibly be under their purview?” asked another outraged observer of the Postal Service.

Others described iCOP as Big Brother “brought to life.”

Kentucky Republican Rep. Thomas Massie described the alleged snooping as “disturbing” and suggested that it was unconstitutional. He also wondered how the agency could afford the surveillance program, given its recent budgetary issues.

There were some commenters who seemed to think that there was nothing wrong with the practice, though, and that only people engaged in illegal activity should worry about public social media posts being monitored by government workers. Several replies to the story noted that the current postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, was appointed by Republican Donald Trump, making those who blame Democrats for the snooping look absurd.

April 23, 2021 - Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | ,

1 Comment »

  1. “Kentucky Republican Rep. Thomas Massie described the alleged snooping as “disturbing” and suggested that it was unconstitutional. He also wondered how the agency could afford the surveillance program, given its recent budgetary issues”.

    Shades of J Edgar Hoover, former head of the FBI for many years, whose agency, the FBI, kept a (paper) file on any American of any importance at all, including Presidents, during last century.

    Of course today, it is so much easier to compile reports on EVERYONE, electronically, today(using ‘Super Computers’?)
    Orwell was right…..”Big brother IS watching you”, me, and everyone else………”Freedom and Democracy” is being used, to keep everyone in chains, if required!

    Like

    Comment by brianharryaustralia | April 23, 2021 | Reply


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