Now feds want your mental health records

Saturday, June 15, 2013
By Paul Martin

But privacy groups warn Obama gun crackdown goes too far

june14, 2013

Privacy experts are warning of a strategy embedded inside a federal plan to adjust privacy rules so that the federal government can access Americans’ mental health records as part of Barack Obama’s war on gun ownership.

According to the plan, the government would be told the details right away if anyone is sent to a mental institution for “mental defectiveness, or mental illness.”

But the White House plan also includes a notification to Washington should someone be lodged in a mental facility “for other reasons.”

“The phrase ‘for other reasons’ is overly broad and vague,” said the Electronic Privacy Information Center. “Although the DOJ has illustrated that drug use is an example of ‘commitments for other reasons,’ the nebulous language would grant the DOJ sweeping authority to prohibit individuals from possessing firearms, a constitutionally protected right.”

The organization says the concern over the privacy of such records means nothing should be changed right away.

“Until the DOJ clearly defines and enumerates the types of formal commitments that can bar gun ownership, HHS should not amend its regulations to release sensitive mental health information to the DOJ,” the organization said in a submission commenting on the Obama plan.

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