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Gov. Tom Wolf Says Contact Tracing Data Breach That Exposed Private Information Of Pennsylvanians 'Was Wrong'

PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) -- Governor Tom Wolf called the recent data breach that impacted more than 72,000 Pennsylvanians a "bad, bad thing."

He emphasized the state will not renew the contract with Insight Global Inc., the Atlanta-based company contracted for COVID-19 contact tracing. The current contract expires on July 31.

Some lawmakers are now asking: Why is the state still under contract with a company that breached the private health information of more than 72,000 Pennsylvanians?

On Wednesday, Governor Wolf called for transparency when it comes to the data breach. When asked why Pennsylvania Department of Health Acting Secretary Alison Beam, along with her deputy, did not show up to testify at the planned state Senate hearing Tuesday about the matter, he said this:

"Maybe I said too much here too. I think everybody has to be sensitive to the rights of people who are going through legal. I'm not a lawyer."

The Pennsylvania Department of Health hired Insight Global, paying it nearly $29 million since last summer to administer the state's COVID-19 contact tracing program. Insight Global acknowledged it mishandled sensitive data and apologized.

"It should not happen. That was wrong," said Gov. Wolf. "The company admitted it, understands that. ... We've made our decision that we're going to hold them accountable."

A recent federal lawsuit filed against Insight Global and the Pennsylvania Department of Health claims the DOH learned about the data breach as early as February but allegedly failed to notify the public until April. That is something Governor Wolf pushed back on Wednesday.

"I don't think they did have knowledge of this, but I've read the reports that they did, but I have seen no evidence that they did," said Gov. Wolf.

When asked if he would welcome an investigation, he said this:

"The attorney general, the legislature, the press, I want to be as transparent as we can. I don't think there's any disagreement that what happened is wrong, that anything that compromises confidential information is wrong," said Gov. Wolf.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said his agency has "opened investigations" into the breach.

Insight Global hired about 900 people as part of its contract with the state and said it only became aware in late April that employees had set up unauthorized Google accounts for sharing private health information.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health told KDKA it cannot discuss this matter because of the active lawsuit.

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