Neither AI inaccuracy nor FOIA requests nor human rights stays USPS surveillance
For some privacy advocates in the United States, news that the U.S. Postal Service is accused of using facial recognition and social media surveillance unlawfully is a double dilemma.
It is first and foremost further proof that no agency is immune from the temptations of algorithmic prying.
And at the same time, the post office is the only unit of the federal government that enjoys broad support across most strata of American culture. The only analogous agency is not even found in the United States. It is the National Health Service in the United Kingdom.
The Electronic Privacy Information Center is suing in federal court to halt the Internet Covert Operations Program operated by the post office.
EPIC lawyers accuse the postal service of using the program, part of the department’s police, the Inspection Service, to monitor protests in 2020 and 2021. They allege that the post office used Clearview AI‘s face-scraping biometric service.
Controversy surrounding Clearview’s biometrics harvesting, privacy policies, marketing strategies, algorithm accuracy, government subscribers, private subscribers and other areas has not prevented its owners and backers from burrowing deeper into government agencies.
They also reportedly tracked “inflammatory content” on social media.
Not only has the postal service not published a required privacy impact assessment of the program, but surveilling Constitutionally protected rights of speech and assembly, according to EPIC, is not a task related to policing crimes conducted through mail or the service’s web site.