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Trump administration considers monitoring smartphones of people with mental health problems

Sep 10, 2019
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The proposed idea would see mentally ill people being tracked via their phones: Getty istockThe proposed idea would see mentally ill people being tracked via their phones: Getty istock
The proposed idea would see mentally ill people being tracked via their phones: Getty istock
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The Trump administration is considering a proposal to combat mass shootings which suggests phones and smartwatches may be used to track people with mental health problems.” data-reactid=”16″>The Trump administration is considering a proposal to combat mass shootings which suggests phones and smartwatches may be used to track people with mental health problems.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The idea began with Bob Wright, a former NBC chairman and longtime Trump confidant, who first proposed creating a government research arm, called the Health Advanced Research Projects Agency (HARPA), to tackle health problems.” data-reactid=”17″>The idea began with Bob Wright, a former NBC chairman and longtime Trump confidant, who first proposed creating a government research arm, called the Health Advanced Research Projects Agency (HARPA), to tackle health problems.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="After the El Paso massacre, Ivanka Trump asked the team behind the proposal to come up with ways to stop mass shootings, according to The Washington Post.” data-reactid=”18″>After the El Paso massacre, Ivanka Trump asked the team behind the proposal to come up with ways to stop mass shootings, according to The Washington Post.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Mr Wright’s team put together a three-page document titled “Stopping Aberrant Fatal Events by Helping Overcome Mental Extremes”, which links mass shootings to mental health.” data-reactid=”19″>Mr Wright’s team put together a three-page document titled “Stopping Aberrant Fatal Events by Helping Overcome Mental Extremes”, which links mass shootings to mental health.

Such a view is highly controversial, with experts believing the link between the two is weak.

The document urges the government to explore whether technology could help combat violence.

It suggests that new technology could detect when people with mental health difficulties are about to become violent.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Marisa Randazzo, former chief research psychologist for the US Secret Service, told The Washington Post that the proposal was concerning.” data-reactid=”23″>Marisa Randazzo, former chief research psychologist for the US Secret Service, told The Washington Post that the proposal was concerning.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The technology required is yet to be developed and tracking people would also infringe their civil liberties.” data-reactid=”24″>The technology required is yet to be developed and tracking people would also infringe their civil liberties.

Ms Randazzo told the newspaper that the initial premise was itself flawed.

“Everything we know from research tells us it’s a weak link at best,” she said.

The El Paso massacre was carried out by a man with racist motivations but conservatives in the US have repeatedly suggested that mental health was to blame.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="“I don’t want people to forget that this is a mental health problem. I don’t want them to forget that, because it is. It’s a mental health problem,” Donald Trump said, following the El Paso massacre and another mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio.” data-reactid=”28″>“I don’t want people to forget that this is a mental health problem. I don’t want them to forget that, because it is. It’s a mental health problem,” Donald Trump said, following the El Paso massacre and another mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio.

“It’s the people that pull the trigger, it’s not the gun that pulls the trigger,” he continued, echoing a favourite Republican talking point.

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Statistics show that other countries with stricter gun control measures suffer far lower levels of gun violence than the US.

The president has avoided questions about gun control since the shootings.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="In August Mr Trump was asked if he would support banning high-capacity magazines, such as the one used by a shooter in Dayton, Ohio.” data-reactid=”34″>In August Mr Trump was asked if he would support banning high-capacity magazines, such as the one used by a shooter in Dayton, Ohio.

He dodged the question, and instead ranted about the closure of hospitals for people with mentally health problems.

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