Michelle Malkin: Stop mental health data mining of our kids
No, no, no. Hell, no!
That’s my response to the latest trial balloon floated by the White House to join with Silicon Valley on a creepy program monitoring Americans’ “neurobehavioral signs” to (purportedly) prevent gun violence.
President Trump’s old friend, former NBC head Bob Wright, has been pushing an Orwellian surveillance scheme called “Safe Home” — “Stopping Aberrant Fatal Events by Helping Overcome Mental Extremes” — that would cost taxpayers between $40 million and $60 million. The Washington Post, owned by Amazon billionaire founder Jeff Bezos, reports that the plan could incorporate Apple Watches, Fitbits, Amazon Echo and Google Home, as well as fMRIs, tractography and image analysis.
Here’s the big lie: Wright’s group promises that privacy will be “safeguarded,” profiling “avoided” and data protection capabilities a “cornerstone of this effort.”
There’s so much bullcrap packed in that statement it should be banned as a global warming pollutant. Anything involving Google should trigger automatic danger warnings of invasive data mining.
Let me remind you that Google has already admitted to data mining children’s emails without consent and in violation of the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act. This school year, untold thousands, if not millions, of children were required to sign on to Google email and Chrome in order to access homework, schedules and classroom discussions — without obtaining parental consent. Thanks to “1-to-1” programs forcing students across the country to use laptops and tablets when paper and pencil would suffice, iPads loaded with Google for Education are metastasizing in tech-crazed, fad-addled school districts oblivious to privacy concerns.
Just last week, the Federal Trade Commission approved a settlement with Google/YouTube over its violation of the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. YouTube had been stealthily mining data of unsuspecting YouTube users under the age of 13.
Earlier this summer, Google agreed to a $13 million settlement over its Street View program, whose roaming cars in more than 30 countries secretly collected emails, passwords and other personal data from Wi-Fi networks.
It’s not just Google. Under the cloak of “science,” Big Tech and Big Government are on the cusp of instituting a mental health social credit score system incorporating dubious predictive analytics.
Who defines “mental health” risk factors? There is no consensus on how much mental health predicts violence. And don’t forget: The mental health profession is filled with partisan zealots who think all Trump voters are dangerous.
Mental health data mining in schools is already happening. The Pioneer Institute reported that federal, state and local governments splurged on more than $30 billion in 2018 to implement social-emotional learning monitoring in K-12 public schools.
Who defines “socially acceptable?” Liberal educators who are mindlessly addicting our kids to Silicon Valley technology and brainwashing them to conform or be excluded?
The last thing Washington should be doing is handing over yet another set of keys to Silicon Valley spies with a voracious appetite for our private information — and our children’s precious minds. You want to make children safer? De-platform Google and the other data-mining predators from public schools now. It’s insanity to let them roam free.
Michelle Malkin is a syndicated columnist. Learn more at michellemalkin.com.