By J. N. Sunday August 25 2019
According to a report, the HARPA agency was initially proposed by the Suzanne Wright Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the process by which treatments and cures for various diseases are uncovered and implemented.
The Trump administration is giving serious consideration to this project that would use technology as a means of collecting data on human subjects in order to prevent mental health-related violence and mass shootings, according to a Washington Post published report. (link)
It states that a new governmental agency would be created, called the Health Advanced Research Projects Agency, or HARPA, and that the agency would be put into the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
“Is modeled after the spectacularly successful DARPA unit at the Department of Defense, [and] would leverage federal research assets and private sector tools to build new capabilities for diseases that have not benefitted from the current system.”
Following the recent shootings in El Paso and Dayton in which 31 Americans were killed, the foundation once again approached the Trump administration, reports The Washington Post.
It offered a new program within HARPA, which would use ‘breakthrough technologies with high specificity and sensitivity for early diagnosis of neuropsychiatric violence’ in order to potentially help prevent instances of public violence, such as mass shootings.
Robert Wright, the founder of the Suzanne Wright Foundation, is the former chairman and CEO of NBC, and is reportedly close with President Trump.
The program, according to anonymous officials cited by The Washington Post, would be called ‘Stopping Aberrant Fatal Events by Helping Overcome Mental Extremes’, abbreviated as SAFE HOME.
“The document goes on to list a number of widely used technologies it suggests could be employed to help collect data, including Apple Watches, Fitbits, Amazon Echo and Google Home. The document also mentions ‘powerful tools’ collected by health-care provides like fMRIs, tractography and image analysis.”
The project would allegedly be volunteer based, spanning four years at a cost of between $40 – $60 million, according to Dr. Geoffrey Ling, founding director of DARPA’s Biological Technologies Office and CEO of NED Biosystems.
President Trump has been focused on mental illness in the wake of the recent spate of shootings.
As it pertains to the ethics of this proposed program, as well as the potential for Fourth Amendment violations, Professor Sherry Colb of Cornell Law School stated:
“It is a very interesting question, and at the moment, the law is unclear. On the one hand, having the government gather personal recordings about you from inside your home seems like an outrageous invasion of privacy that ought to be considered a Fourth Amendment violation.
On the other hand, the U.S. Supreme Court has long held that when private individuals surrender personal information to third parties and the government subpoenas that information from the third parties, there’s no Fourth Amendment violation. It’s called the ‘third party doctrine‘.
The fly in the ointment is that the Court recently said that gathering cell site data about a particular suspect’s whereabouts over time does violate the Fourth Amendment if there’s no warrant, so the Court may be prepared to dial back on the so-called ‘third party doctrine’ when it comes to invasive tech.”