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Trump admin hears plan to use data from Google and Apple to detect mental illness, prevent gun violence

It was reportedly 'well-received'

Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Trump administration heard a proposal last week to create an agency that would use data from devices like the Apple Watch, Amazon Echo, or Google Home to identify signs of mental illness that could lead to violent behavior, according to the Washington Post.

The proposal comes from the Suzanne Wright Foundation, a nonprofit that advocates for the use of federal resources and private sector tools to develop methods of detecting health problems earlier for more effective treatment.

The proposal calls for the creation of the Health Advanced Research Projects Agency (HARPA), under the umbrella of the Department of Health and Human Services.

The main project discussed for this new agency would be the SAFE HOME project: Stopping Aberrant Fatal Events by Helping Overcome Mental Extremes. The "aberrant fatal events" most relevant right now are, of course, mass shootings, and the administration has been exploring options to prevent them.

With the SAFE HOME project, common consumer technologies such as the Apple Watch, Google Home, and Amazon Echo, all of which have the capability of collecting immense (and sometimes concerning) levels of personal data, could be used to produce an "early diagnosis of neuropsychiatric violence."

Geoffrey Ling, a lead adviser for HARPA, said the data collection would be voluntary.

"Everybody would be a volunteer," Ling told reporters, according to the Daily Caller. "We're not inventing new science here. We're analyzing it so we can develop new approaches."

The Trump administration has not commented publicly on this proposal, although the Post cited sources saying President Trump received it favorably. The president has focused on mental illness as a leading cause of recent mass murders.

"There is no doubt that addressing this issue helps the president deal with two issues he has yet to find real success on: One is the health care front and one is on the gun violence front," a source familiar with the discussions told the Post.

TheBlaze has reached out to the Department of Health and Human Services for comment, but as of publication has not received a response.

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