United States Postal Inspection Service
| United States Postal Inspection Service |
|Parent organization||US/Postal Service|
|Headquarters||475 L'Enfant Plaza SW, Washington DC|
|The "law enforcement arm of the United States Postal Service."|
The United States Postal Inspection Service is a universal surveillance programme.
"The Mail Cover Program allows postal employees to photograph and send to federal law enforcement organizations (FBI, DHS, Secret Service, etc.) the front and back of every piece of mail the Post Office processes. It also retains the information digitally and provides it to any government agency that wants it—without a warrant."
In 2015, the USPS Inspector General issued a report saying that “Agencies must demonstrate a reasonable basis for requesting mail covers, send hard copies of request forms to the Criminal Investigative Service Center for processing, and treat mail covers as restricted and confidential... A mail cover should not be used as a routine investigative tool. Insufficient controls over the mail cover program could hinder the Postal Inspection Service’s ability to conduct effective investigations, lead to public concerns over privacy of mail, and harm the Postal Service’s brand.”
Surveillance of customers
In 2015, it was revealed that the US Postal Inspection Service had installed a utility box "positioned to capture and record the license plates and facial features of customers leaving a Golden Post Office."
Surveillance of Social Media
In 2021, Yahoo News revealed that the United States Postal Inspection Service has been quietly running a program that tracks and collects Americans’ social media posts, including those about planned protests. The details of the surveillance effort, known as iCOP, or Internet Covert Operations Program, have not previously been made public. “Analysts with the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) Internet Covert Operations Program (iCOP) monitored significant activity regarding planned protests occurring internationally and domestically on March 20, 2021,” says the March 16 government bulletin, marked as “law enforcement sensitive” and distributed through the Department of Homeland Security’s fusion centers. “Locations and times have been identified for these protests, which are being distributed online across multiple social media platforms, to include right-wing leaning Parler and Telegram accounts.”