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House Bill Allows AG to Grant Money For Human Tracking Devices

House Bill Allows AG to Grant Money For Human Tracking Devices

Give them an inch you know they’ll go a mile….

This little bill flew under the radar, didn’t it? While the Democrats deal with infighting and President-elect Donald Trump chooses his Cabinet, the House of Representatives quietly passed H.R. 4919, also known as Kevin and Avonte’s Law.

This law allows the attorney general to hand over money to local law enforcement agencies to develop human tracking devices:

The programs mission would to find “individuals with forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s Disease, or children with developmental disabilities, such as autism, who have wandered from safe environments.”

Additionally, the bill would also require the attorney general to consult with the secretary of health and human services and other health organizations to come up with best practices for the tracking devices.

How about no?

The bill reauthorizes the Missing Alzheimer’s Disease Patient Alert Program, now allowing children with autism. A staffer familiar with the legislation told the Washington Free Beacon that Congress changed some wording in the bill. The patients will receive a “non-invasive and non-permanent tracking device” and remains voluntary.

They also promised no database. The attorney general decides who can receive the devices and which agencies receive the information.

Despite the changes, it remains a vague bill. It says voluntary, but how can that be the case if the devices are meant for people who have mental challenges? I know there are different scales and severity of autism and Alzheimer’s so how will they address this? It’s not exactly voluntary if the patient cannot consent to a tracking device.

I find it precious that Congress wrote that the attorney general will include procedures to “protect the civil rights and liberties of the individuals who use tracking devices, including their rights under the Fourth Amendment.”

So, um, about that. Isn’t forcing a tracking device on someone who does not have the mental capacity to say yes or no a violation of the Fourth Amendment? Isn’t having your movements tracked by the government an invasion of privacy? Doesn’t this mean that patients will have to surrender their medical history and information to the agencies? Will doctors have to break doctor/patient confidentiality?

Another thing. No database. No collecting of data. I call absolute BS on that one. This will give the federal government a list of those who have these mental challenges. The attorney general decides who will receive the devices so therefore the Department of Justice will know the extent of the person’s autism or Alzheimer’s. The fact is the government could find “problems” within this program and make amendments to justify a database and collection of information.

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) has these same concerns:

“While this initiative may have noble intentions, ‘small and temporary’ programs in the name of safety and security often evolve into permanent and enlarged bureaucracies that infringe on the American people’s freedoms. That is exactly what we have here. A safety problem exists for people with Alzheimer’s, autism and other mental health issues, so the fix, we are told, is to have the Department of Justice, start a tracking program so we can use some device or method to track these individuals 24/7,” Gohmert said in his floor speech.

He later went on to say, “Sponsors of the bill tell us not to worry, because they got language in there that says the tracking device cannot be invasive, it is totally voluntary AND it is only a couple of million dollars to get it started –so it is not all that much money.”

Gohmert explained, “It is absolutely staggering that the Republican majorities in the House and Senate could be so blind to government overreach that they would allow a federal tracking program, not for criminals in the U.S., not for terrorists, not for illegal immigrants or even immigrants who commit crimes, but for people with ‘developmental disabilities’ a term that is subject to wide misinterpretation. The Senate Republican leaders even brought it to the floor with almost no one there and asked that the new Big Brother program be passed without even having a vote at all – someone just asks for ‘unanimous consent.’ Since no one is advised about the bill being brought up, no one who would object knows to be there, so it passes without anyone ever actually voting for it.”

Congress expanded the bill to include those with autism. Will they stop there? How about depression and anxiety? ADHD? ADD? Borderline Personality Disorder?

You give the government an inch they will go a mile….


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The most concerning thing about these programs that we are told are “temporary” and/or “voluntary” is that they always wind up being permanent and involuntary. Every. Single. Time.

A variety of tracking systems already exist, available for anybody to use. You can track your dog, child, car, favorite hat, etc, quite easily and cheaply. Why does our idiot government need to spend millions of our dollars to develop a new system?

Beyond the civil liberties issues (which are debatable), why is this a federal matter? Have there been a rash of Alzheimer’s patients crossing state lines?

I was involved in S&R for a wandering Alzheimer’s patient once. Lots of local and state resources showed up, both governmental and private. Not once did I hear anyone say ‘where are the feds?’

    Milhouse in reply to coolway. | December 14, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    It’s a local matter; and the bill keeps it that way. The feds are merely paying for it. Why they should pay for it is a question worth asking, but that is all the bill does.

      “Why they should pay for it is a question worth asking.”

      And the answer to that question is “They shouldn’t”

      We’ve seen it time and time again… the Feds pay for something and then use the continuation of the funding as a cudgel to control the states.

      Here’s an idea… why don’t we cut the amount of money we’re sending to Washington DC by about 75% and then let each state decide how much it wants to confiscate from it’s residents and how to spend it?

      Why they should pay for it is an easy question to answer:

      Think about all the man-hours that are spent every time a dementia patient goes missing or an autism child has run away and been lost in a forest. Now aggregate that number nationally. While any one municipality might not be able to pay for this research, a group effort then makes sense.

      I would suggest this is exactly the type of thing that the Government should be funding.

      Think of it like a class-action lawsuit. Any one individual plaintiff might not be injured sufficiently to make a serious lawsuit individually worth it, but if you aggregate, it becomes worthwhile for someone to take it on from a representative plaintiff standpoint, and for an attorney to file the suit.

        There are a multitude of devices already on the market that can do this. There is absolutely no reason for the Federal government to go sticking it’s tentacles in this too.

It says voluntary, but how can that be the case if the devices are meant for people who have mental challenges?[..] It’s not exactly voluntary if the patient cannot consent to a tracking device.

Anyone who needs one of these will certainly have already had a guardian appointed, who can make the decision on the patient’s behalf.

Isn’t forcing a tracking device on someone who does not have the mental capacity to say yes or no a violation of the Fourth Amendment?

Not for the patient’s guardian.

Another thing. No database. No collecting of data. I call absolute BS on that one. This will give the federal government a list of those who have these mental challenges.

The local government already knows who has been declared incompetent and assigned a guardian. There’s nothing now barring the feds from asking for and receiving this information.

    Milhouse is right. This isn’t for the run-of-the-mill functional dementia patient or high-functioning autism child.

    The individuals that this is going to help are going to be the wanderers (the dementia patients that are functional enough to escape from a secured facility, but are non-functional when they are in a non-familiar space), or those autism individuals who are completely socially non-functional or ‘hiders’ who have complete phobia of anyone they don’t know.

    The individuals in the above categories are ALREADY going to have a permanent Guardianship or Conservatorship where they have been deemed non compos mentis or otherwise incapable of caring for themselves in a manner, and will have had their decision-making rights having been stripped by a Court of law after a hearing.

    Having served in the Probate (competency) Courts of FOUR different states now, and seeing some of the individuals involved, this type of funded research doesn’t trouble me in the slightest.

    In fact, my preference would be an INJECTION tracking device, preferably that could be read by satellite (but I think that would require too large a battery currently) or alternatively that could be triangulated by Cell-Phone tower.

    This funding could be used to research miniaturization of the currently existing models into something which would allow for tracking globally.

    Isn’t forcing a tracking device on someone who does not have the mental capacity to say yes or no a violation of the Fourth Amendment?

    No. You have to have the right frame of mind to think about these types of things. You have to remember that a person with a full-on Guardianship HAS NO RIGHTS LEFT. No privacy interest (not to mention it’s not the GOVERNMENT making the decision, but the GUARDIAN, thus no 4th Amd. Constitutional violation). Literally the Guardian is legally standing in the person’s shoes for ALL decisions (what they eat, where they live, what they wear, where they go or don’t go). Texas has made it a point to try to limit guardianships to the least restrictive possible, but for some of them, the Guardian is going to have the whole ball-of-wax, with nothing left over in the Ward.

    This is me in reply to Milhouse. | December 15, 2016 at 10:52 am

    Milhouse said:

    “Anyone who needs one of these will certainly have already had a guardian appointed, who can make the decision on the patient’s behalf.”

    And you know this how?

      Milhouse in reply to This is me. | December 15, 2016 at 3:49 pm

      Because such a person is by definition incapable of looking after his or her own affairs, and needs a guardian. Therefore one will have been appointed. If nothing else, applying for a monitoring device for oneself would be taken as a sign of needing a guardian.

SEC. 302. Standards and best practices for use of non-invasive and non-permanent tracking devices.

(a) Establishment.—

     (2) REQUIREMENTS.—In establishing the standards and best practices required under paragraph (1), the Attorney General shall—

          (B) establish standards and best practices the Attorney General determines are necessary to the administration of a tracking system, including procedures to—

               (v) establish a complaint and investigation process to address—

                    (II) use of a tracking device over the objection of an individual;


I’m not sure I’m seeing a lot of “voluntary” there.

    Milhouse in reply to tom swift. | December 14, 2016 at 6:32 pm

    Establishing a complaint and investigation process to address something means that that thing is not allowed.

    The bill also explicitly says that these devices are only to be used “where a guardian or parent, in consultation with the individual’s health care provider, has determined” that it’s necessary.

      I’m not sure why “‘in consultation with the individual’s health care provider, has determined’ that it’s necessary” is necessary at all.

      If it’s a guardianship, the Guardian can make the decision that it’s in the best interest of the Ward to have this, and that’s that. If the Ward wants to challenge it, that’s for the Probate/competency Court to decide if the Guardian has overstepped the bounds of the Guardianship.

        I’m not sure why it’s necessary either, nor why an incompetent individual’s objections need to be addressed by a complaint and investigation system, but that’s what the bill provides, presumably out of extra caution.

When implantable chips were first marketed for pets, my ex and I said that they’d get these devices into people on the pretext of protecting the old and mentally challenged. It has taken them long enough to get around to it (maybe they weren’t satisfied with mere ID chips, and wanted the tracking tech as well), but we were wrong. AFAIK, the first large scale use of chips was in Mexico – all workers for the federal judiciary are chipped.

Trojan horse. The list of eligible recipients will grow. Hey, we should chip pedophiles (because few in Congress will come to their defense). In fact, we should chip all violent criminals. And non-violent too. We should chip military personnel, lest they get lost in the foggy chaos of battle. Civilian police officers, too. Kids. We should chip kids or else it means we love our pets more than our kids. Employers ought to be able to chip certain employees, those vulnerable to being robbed or assaulted, and those responsible for handling products of great value, like diamonds, cash transfers between banks and between businesses and banks, etc. And bloggers. DEFINITELY bloggers.

    For those who have free will to object, they will have the right to object.

    As for the pedophile thing: I agree with you. Congress and the States already impose what I believe are Unconstitutional burdens on those who have been convicted of certain crimes, such as “registration” after they have served their sentence, because “It’s for the protection of the CHILDREN.” (cue weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth).

    But, since the Legislative branch has imposed it, and the Supreme Court of the United States seems to think that it’s acceptable to strip certain individuals of long-term personal rights even AFTER they have served their imposed criminal sentence by post-sentence “civil commitment” “prohibited living zones” and “civil registration” that can be criminally enforced, there isn’t anyone left to say “this is WRONG.” If you want to sentence them to a ‘life sentence ‘for certain crimes, DO SO, but don’t say “you’ve served your sentence, now here’s your lifetime restrictions that were never part of the criminal proceeding or sentence of the Court.”

      Henry Hawkins in reply to Chuck Skinner. | December 15, 2016 at 12:14 pm

      Of course. My point being that, for better or worse, few new laws/regs remain true to their stated original intent. In fact, bending laws and regs to serve entirely different agenda is prevalent at all levels of government. This chipping thing, however well-intended at the outset, is ripe for ‘political mission creep’, if that’s a term. Each new addition is well-intended in my facetious examples. They usually are. They can start with a well-intended desire to help the poor delta smelt and end up creating a desert out of a beautiful garden. Gee, we should protect the snail darter, too…..

Tonight my special needs daughter is 12 years old. When I asked her why she didn’t follow the instructions I gave her on her homework she decided she wanted a new family… She is full of hormones she doesn’t understand and has the mental capacity of a 6 year old. She ran out the door without a jacket and it was 20 degrees with snow on the ground at 4pm in the afternoon. The low tonight is expected to be 6 degrees. With the help of the police and a good person a couple streets over we found her within an hour… More than 2 hours later she is still fixated on finding a new family… For some this may be a hard question but for my family it will bring peace of mind.

    I sympathize with you and your family. But there are devices on the market now. You don’t need the Federal Government to solve this problem. We need to be shrinking the government not growing it.

      Baby Elephant in reply to Paul. | December 15, 2016 at 10:39 pm

      local law enforcement spends a lot of time, money and manpower to search for people of diminished capacity… These devices can help local law enforcement to prioritize their resources and save time, money and manpower while still increasing the number of happy reunions.

I’m old enough to remember when cars didn’t have safety belts. As I grew older, cars were sold with safety belts. Older yet, and safety belt usage became mandatory, but not sufficient cause for primary vehicle stop. Now we can be stopped for not wearing a seat belt.

If this device offers tracking, then it is not a simple chip unless it also requires the installation of chip readers on every few hundred feet or so.

This device is probably similar to an ankle bracelet installed on criminals under house arrest. Or worse, they’ll chain a GM car equipped with OnStar to your ankle. This latter provision will, with few exceptions, prevent anybody from wandering away.

Who, what, when and where will be determined by those who benefit from the program; as usual, he who pays the piper call the tune.