Most people are very aware that social media opens them up to all sorts of privacy issues.
Companies can say all they want that they don’t monitor, snoop, or pry. But if the last six months have shown us anything, it’s that Big Tech is definitely poking around in people’s private lives.
And you won’t believe which federal agency is watching you through its social media surveillance wing.
Back in April, Yahoo! News reported that the United States Postal Service (USPS) has a social media surveillance unit known as the Internet Covert Operations Program or iCOP for short.
Yes, the mailman is watching your social media accounts.
Apparently, they’re looking for “significant activity regarding planned protests occurring internationally and domestically.”
A 2019 annual report published by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service stated that iCOP “protects the Postal Service and the public by facilitating the identification, disruption, and dismantling of individuals and organizations that use the mail or USPS online tools to facilitate black market Internet trade or other illegal activities.”
It gets worse from there.
As part of iCOP, these USPIS agents “assume fake identities online, use sophisticated intelligence tools and employ facial recognition software.”
Once iCOP gets a hold of the information they “need,” it is sent to Homeland Security and an array of other law enforcement and government authorities.
This news caused an uproar around the country and amongst Congressional Republicans.
Undoubtedly, the program raises serious questions about the federal government’s ongoing surveillance of Americans’ private lives.
A letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy was drafted by thirty GOP members of Congress asking why the USPS is “taking on the role of intelligence collection.”
There is no shortage of intelligence agencies eager to spy on Americans, so adding the USPS to the mix is just absurd.
In late April, Chief Postal Inspector Gary R. Barksdale testified about the program before the House Oversight Committee.
According to Barksdale, the program launched in 2017 to help detect mailed opioids and firearms but in Spring of 2020, it morphed into monitoring the Internet for information about potential threats to the USPS leaders, staff, or facilities.
During the hearing, Barksdale was asked how much taxpayer money was being used for the program and what legal authority the post office had to spy on people’s social media activity.
He had no answer.
In typical government fashion, they want the American people to believe this is being done for their safety, but that’s a lie.
The powers that be want to know everything about you and your life.
The more they know, the more power they have over those who disagree with them, and what better place to find that information than the dark hole of social media.
If this is what they’re using the postal system for, just imagine what other “innocent” looking agencies monitor.
Stay tuned to Unmuzzled News for any updates to this ongoing story.