No answers for 72,000 Pennsylvanians on COVID-19 contact tracing data breach as Dept. of Health backs out of Senate committee public hearing

HARRISBURG – The Senate Communications and Technology Committee convened a public hearing Tuesday morning to seek answers about a massive data breach of personal health data impacting over 72,000 Pennsylvanians.

The committee, chaired by Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York), confirmed attendance of Department of Health public officials who would testify on the data breach and answer questions from members. The committee also invited the third-party vendor who was awarded the $22.9 million state contract.

After initially agreeing to testify, the department informed the committee at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 8 that officials would no longer testify.

Phillips-Hill and members of the committee conducted the hearing to read questions into the record as well as announce that they will evaluate all legal options at their disposal to get answers for the more than 70,000 individuals who are affected.

“Why didn’t the department immediately cancel this contract, instead of allowing it to continue until the end of July? When was the department first made aware of this data breach? Who is impacted, and does it include children under the age of 18? Where does this data go after the pandemic is over,” Phillips-Hill asked.

“These are all questions we wanted to have answered in a transparent, open and public hearing and unfortunately, we still have zero answers. This is very sensitive health data that is out there in the hands of people who should not have it,” she added.

You can watch the committee’s hearing in its entirety (approximately 8 minutes).

You can watch Phillips-Hill’s reaction to today’s hearing here.

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