The US Postal Service (USPS) is running a ‘Covert Operations Program’ to track and spy on Americans’ social media posts and share with federal agencies
The United States is slowly turning into a surveillance state. For many years, U.S. federal agencies have been storing up the latest technologies with capabilities to surveil American citizens. Once in a while, we see how these technologies are being used to track and monitor people.
Back in 2018, Edward Snowden said that Facebook is a surveillance company collecting personal data, rebranded as ‘social media.’ Snowden ripped Facebook for working on the behalf of U.S. government to track and monitor American citizens.
Fast forward three years later, Snowden turned out to be right and Facebook is not an isolated incident. According to a document obtained by Yahoo News, the US Postal Service (USPS) has been running a secret program to track and collect Americans’ social media posts, including those about planned protests.
According to the report, the surveillance program, which has not been previously made public, is known as iCOP or “Internet Covert Operations Program.” The program is operated by the law enforcement arm of the USPS.
Per Yahoo News, the program involves having the USPS law enforcement analysts trawl through social media sites to look for what the document describes as “inflammatory” postings and then sharing that information across government agencies.
“Analysts with the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) Internet Covert Operations Program (iCOP) monitored significant activity regarding planned protests occurring internationally and domestically on March 20, 2021,” reads a government bulletin dated March 16, marked as “law enforcement sensitive” and distributed throughout the Department of Homeland Security’s fusion centers. Locations and times have been identified for these protests, which are being distributed online across multiple social media platforms, to include right-wing leaning Parler and Telegram accounts.”
The report also cites intelligence that “a number of groups were expected to gather in cities around the globe on March 20 as part of a World Wide Rally for Freedom and Democracy” against pandemic lockdown measures.
According to Yahoo News, the bulletin also includes screenshots of posts about the protests from Facebook, Parler, Telegram, and other social media sites, only one of which – Parler – was ‘censored and canceled’ by big tech. Below is one of the screenshots.
“iCOP analysts are currently monitoring these social media channels for any potential threats stemming from the scheduled protests and will disseminate intelligence updates as needed,” reads the bulletin.
In the past, “Parler users have commented about their intent to use the rallies to engage in violence. Image 3 on the right is a screenshot from Parler indicating two users discussing the event as an opportunity to engage in a ‘fight’ and to ‘do serious damage,’” reads the bulletin,” though it hedges with “No intelligence is available to suggest the legitimacy of these threats.”