Did you know the post office is reading your social media comments? I didn’t either…
The United States Postal Service (USPS) has a program that collects information about Americans’ social media posts, according to a new report published Wednesday by Yahoo News.
The news outlet obtained a March 16 memo about the so-called Internet Covert Operations Program, in which the agency’s law enforcement arm—the U.S. Postal Inspection Service—said analysts “monitored significant activity regarding planned protests occurring internationally and domestically on March 20, 2021.”
The memo goes on to state that “online inflammatory material has been identified, which suggests potential violence may occur; however there is currently no intelligence to suggest specific threats.”
The two-page document included screenshotted posts from Parler, Facebook and other sites.
One example showed Parler users discussing how the World Wide Rally for Freedom and Democracy would be an opportunity to “fight” and “do serious damage.” The agency also identified a North Carolina Proud Boy member by name as they posted about the rally.
The memo said that analysts were “monitoring these social media channels for any potential threats stemming from the scheduled protests and will disseminate intelligence updates as needed.”
When asked about the program, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service told Yahoo News that as the “primary law enforcement, crime prevention, and security arm of the U.S. Postal Service,” it is responsible for enforcing “the laws that defend the nation’s mail system from illegal or dangerous use; and ensure public trust in the mail.”