Gaetz, House Republicans want to end funding for postal service surveillance
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and a group of other House Republicans on Friday introduced legislation to end funding for an arm of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) that carries out online surveillance.
The legislation was rolled out in response to a March bulletin, reported by Yahoo! News earlier this month, distributed by the USPS’s Inspection Service’s Internet Covert Operations Program (iCOP). The bulletin cited iCOP concerns about potential “significant” protests planned for March 20 based on “online inflammatory material” and posts on social media platforms Parler and Telegram.
“iCOP analysts are currently monitoring these social media channels for any potential threats stemming from the scheduled protests, and will disseminate intelligence updates if needed,” the agency wrote in the bulletin.
The new bill backed by almost a dozen House Republicans would prohibit federal funds from being used for iCOP. The legislation’s text accuses the organization of being “politically motivated in its target,” and the USPS of “operating a clandestine domestic surveillance program of Americans’ social media activity.”