Here's How the Post Office's Internet Cops Describe Themselves

The Postal Inspection Service says its Analytics Team's mission "is to identify and develop intelligence on targets operating on the clear and dark webs."

Aug 31 2021, 1:00pm
Hacking. Disinformation. Surveillance. CYBER is Motherboard's podcast and reporting on the dark underbelly of the internet.

The U.S. Postal Service has a law enforcement branch, called the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The USPIS runs its own social media and online investigation unit called iCOP, or the Internet Covert Operations Program. Now, an internal presentation provides more insight into how exactly the USPIS perceives its role of combating crime and what sort of data the organization leverages.

"Analytics Team specializes in providing actionable intelligence through cryptocurrency tracking, open source intelligence and social media analysis, geospatial mapping, and data visualization, and USPS backend and network data exploitation," the presentation reads. Motherboard obtained the presentation through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the USPIS asking for documents specifically related to iCOP.

Do you work on the iCOP program? Or do you have any other documents related to it or other similar programs? We'd love to hear from you. Using a non-work phone or computer, you can contact Joseph Cox securely on Signal on +44 20 8133 5190, Wickr on josephcox, or email joseph.cox@vice.com.

The USPIS has a mandate to investigate abuse of the mail system, including fraud, drugs smuggling, and theft. It is one of the country's oldest federal law enforcement agencies.

Yahoo News first reported the existence of the iCOP program in April, which uses social media monitoring systems and controversial facial recognition tool Clearview AI. iCOP "monitored significant activity regarding planned protests occurring internationally and domestically on March 20, 2021," according to a document obtained by Yahoo News.

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The unit's goals are to attribute "previously unknown individuals," the presentation obtained by Motherboard reads. In other words, to identify people of interest to the agency.

The training consists of sessions spread across 4 days over Zoom, the presentation says. Participants are "encouraged to follow along with each tool as the course is being taught," it adds.

"You will not be an expert by the end of the training," the presentation reads.

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Tagged:

privacy, Social Media, CYBER, Postal Service, Social Media Surveillance, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, postal inspection service, clearview ai

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