Have we really gotten to the point where Government has militarized the Postal Service?
According to a Yahoo! News Report, we have:
The details of the surveillance effort, known as iCOP, or Internet Covert Operations Program, have not previously been made public. The work involves having analysts trawl through social media sites to look for what the document describes as “inflammatory” postings and then sharing that information across government agencies.
Wait. The Internet Covert Operations Program? What in the hell does that have literally anything to do with the mission or directive of the United States Postal Service? Postal Service law enforcement has nothing else to do with their funding other than engaging in this garbage? It isn’t like mail fraud or stolen packages are a thing anymore.
According to the report, the iCOP program would have agents or officers combing the internet for posts that may be hinting at protests or violent acts that might be occurring, then forwarding that information onto other law enforcement agencies, which presumably, should have been conducting their own investigation. Their surveillance was of social media sites, but frustratingly, seem to have only centered on one service: Parler. The iCOP program also surveilled Telegram accounts.
The Postal Service? Let’s first talk about the fact that the USPS has been woefully incompetent when it comes to sticking to a budget or operating in a manner that provides enough return to justify its existence. How often do we hear about the USPS needing another infusion of cash or Congressional bailout? Remember the anger from the left last year as cuts and organizational changes were made to the USPS? Should they not be equally infuriated that this is occurring with these funds?
I am not alone in this frustration. Other cybersecurity and internet experts are waving the warning flag or at the very least, questioning the action by the Postal Service.
From Yahoo! News:
“It’s a mystery,” said University of Chicago law professor Geoffrey Stone, whom President Barack Obama appointed to review the National Security Agency’s bulk data collection in the wake of the Edward Snowden leaks. “I don’t understand why the government would go to the Postal Service for examining the internet for security issues.”
“This seems a little bizarre,” agreed Rachel Levinson-Waldman, deputy director of the Brennan Center for Justice’s liberty and national security program. “Based on the very minimal information that’s available online, it appears that [iCOP] is meant to root out misuse of the postal system by online actors, which doesn’t seem to encompass what’s going on here. It’s not at all clear why their mandate would include monitoring of social media that’s unrelated to use of the postal system. If the individuals they’re monitoring are carrying out or planning criminal activity, that should be the purview of the FBI,” she said. “If they’re simply engaging in lawfully protected speech, even if it’s odious or objectionable, then monitoring them on that basis raises serious constitutional concerns.”
If there has ever been an indicator that the Government has reached a point where it needs push back, this is it. I am sure that there are those on the left that think this is a great idea. The militarization of the most “harmless” parts of government is what butters their bread. There will be the statists who pass this off as “well, if you’re not doing anything illegal, then you don’t have anything to worry about.”
Sorry, but I worry.
Author: Scott Hounsell