HARRISBURG (KDKA) – It’s a battle between transparency and legal quagmire: who should answer questions about the data breach of private health information for some 70,000 Pennsylvanians?
KDKA’s Meghan Schiller talked to one local state senator who tried to get the conversation started but said it ended in silence.READ MORE: Lawsuit Filed Against Pennsylvania Department Of Health, Global Insight Over Contact Tracing Data Breach
“It’s great to ask questions that no one answers. So, there’s no feedback, there’s no back and forth. It was awful,” said state Senator Pat Stefano.
Sen. Stefano tells KDKA’s Meghan Schiller it’s hard to get the information and data if the people who should have it refuse to show up.
“They pulled out right away, claiming they couldn’t discuss any of the issues of the case. That is not transparency,” he said.
That’s what he said played out Tuesday in a Pennsylvania Senate hearing hosted by the Communications and Technology Committee that aimed to start the conversation about the recent data breach involving private health information of tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians. The committee asked Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam and her deputy to testify.READ MORE: Pa. GOP Calls On Gov. Wolf To Fire Vendor That Mishandled Contact Tracing Data
“Both ended up declining, saying they couldn’t talk because of the pending lawsuit,” said Sen. Stefano.
Sen. Stefano believes shoddy security practices by Atlanta-based Insight Global Inc. are to blame for the alleged breach of private health information. The Pennsylvania Department of Health hired Insight Global to handle COVID-19 contact tracing.
“Was it me? Was it my mom? Whose contact information was sacrificed? We don’t know,” said Sen. Stefano.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro sent KDKA this statement saying, “These allegations about a contractor failing to safeguard people’s personal data are concerning. Our office is aware of these allegations and cannot comment further at this time.”MORE NEWS: Contact Tracing Data Breach Exposes 72,000 Pennsylvanians’ Personal Information
The Pennsylvania Senate committee wants people to act and file HIPAA violations if you talked to a contact tracer since the start of this pandemic. You can do so here.