The Post Office’s inspector general uncovers unrestricted online snooping by postal cops without any legal authority.
The U.S. Postal Service has a “U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s Analytics and Cybercrime Program”—of course it does! Its tasks, according to a report issued last week from the Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General (IG), include via its “Internet Covert Operations Program (iCOP)” subprogram, to “proactively gather intelligence using cryptocurrency analysis, open-source intelligence, and social media analysis.”
In doing so, the IG concluded in that report (which was the result of a House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Reform request to look into Post Office online snooping), the iCOP program “exceeded the Postal Inspection Service’s law enforcement authority.”
One rub is that iCOP’s efforts by law “must have an identified connection to the mail, postal crimes, or the security of Postal Service facilities or personnel prior to commencing”—a “postal nexus” in their lingo.