President Trump is reviewing a proposal to study potentially monitoring the electronic devices of the mentally ill in order to tackle the country’s mass shooting epidemic, The Washington Post reports. The plan, called Stopping Aberrant Fatal Events by Helping Overcome Mental Extremes, or SAFEHOME, would explore whether it is possible to utilize the phones and smart watches of mentally ill people in order to predict when they are about to become violent. If the plan is studied, it would likely be conducted under a newly proposed federal research agency along the lines of DARPA that would be called the Health Advanced Research Agency, or HARPA. In addition to the potential civil-liberty violations at stake, the SAFEHOME idea has also irked experts in mental health and national security.
Marisa Randazzo, former chief research psychologist for the U.S. Secret Service, said SAFEHOME—if it was possible—would inevitably produce a majority of false positives. Randazzo also expressed concern over the notion that mental illness and mass shootings are inextricably linked. “Everything we know from research tells us it’s a weak link at best,” Randazzo said. President Trump has often pointed to mental illness, separate from guns, as a major factor in mass shootings. “Mental illness and hatred pull the trigger. Not the gun,” the president said after the recent shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.