Did you know Spotlight PA is a nonprofit? Learn more about our nonpartisan journalism »
Skip to main content
Main content

Fired COVID tracer settles Pa. data breach suit

Plus, what you need to know to vote in the May 16 primary.

The logo of PA Post, a free daily newsletter delivering the top news from across Pennsylvania every day.

A daily newsletter by The logo of Spotlight PA, an independent, nonpartisan newsroom producing investigative journalism for Pennsylvania.

Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen
Wednesday, April 12, 2023
COVID case, primary primer, downstream concerns, power struggles, sheriff scandal, tax two-fer, and be the reporters. Thanks for checking in.

Our latest deep-dive into how an alleged corruption scheme in the city of DuBois, Pa., went on for years without anyone noticing is the latest example of the need for tough, nonpartisan investigative reporting across Pennsylvania. That's what Spotlight PA is all about. Help sustain and expand our vital investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account by making a one-time or recurring gift to Spotlight PA now.

As a special bonus, all new monthly gifts will be matched at their ANNUAL value — that's a 12X match. We can't do this vital work without your support.

You can also give via PayPal here, or send a check to: Spotlight PA, 228 Walnut St., #11728, Harrisburg, PA 17108. Thank you!

—Christopher Baxter, editor in chief

A contractor hired by Pennsylvania to conduct COVID-19 contact tracing will pay up to $5,000 each to victims of a related data breach.

The lawsuit named both the contractor, Insight Global, and Pennsylvania's Department of Health as defendants. The DOH was later dropped from the suit. More than 76,000 people were affected by the breach.

Bloomberg News reports that notified victims will also be eligible for up to $250 in compensation for out-of-pocket expenses, including payment for lost time and two years of credit monitoring services.

THE CONTEXT: Spotlight PA reported in 2021 that the exposed data included private medical and some personal information.

The company blamed employees it said had set up unauthorized Google accounts for sharing information, some of which was published online in active, unsecured Google spreadsheets.

One spreadsheet remained online in June of 2021 despite assurances that the data had been secured a month earlier. Insight Global was fired by the Department of Health, which ended its $23 million contract early.


“Your rights and freedoms here in Pennsylvania have not changed."

—Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro saying medication abortions are still accessible in Pennsylvania after a federal court ruling now under appeal; Shapiro's administration has launched a website with resources
» How Spotlight PA will cover Pa.'s 2023 primary election

» How to vote, find your polling place, understand mail ballots

» A guide to Commonwealth, Superior Court candidates

» Los candidatos a la Corte de la Commonwealth y Cortes Superiores

» A guide to the Pa. Supreme Court candidates

» High court candidates with party backing show fundraising edge

» Guía completa de los candidatos a la Corte Suprema del Estado

» Court decision does little to clear up ballot curing confusion

» Supporters hope Pa.’s new legislature will embrace open primaries

» How unequal policies disenfranchised Pa. voters in 2022

» Register to vote in the May 16 primary here; deadline May 1

» Request your mail ballot for the May 16 primary; deadline May 9

Support Spotlight PA's public-service election and voting coverage now. Become a sustaining monthly donor and get your gift matched 12X! 
PRIMARY PRIMER: Join us Thursday, April 13 from 6-7 p.m. ET via Zoom for a free panel on Pa.’s Supreme Court candidates and why the 2023 election matters. Register here and submit questions to events@spotlightpa.org
Morning on the Liggett Trail in Cook Forest State Park with Don H. Send us your photos by email, use #PAGems on IG, or tag @spotlightpennsylvania.
A creek runs under a footbridge and is surrounded by tall trees.
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.PRIMARY 101: Pennsylvania's 2023 primary election is rapidly approaching, and if you need a refresher on registering and casting your ballot, Spotlight PA has you covered with our complete guide to the May 16 contests. Now is the time to understand who will be on the ballot, when to vote, how to vote, and where to vote. For example: The last day to register to vote is May 1. You can register here.

Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.'RED FLAGS': Opposition to a $1.1 billion plastics recycling plant on the banks of the Susquehanna River in Northumberland County is growing. Northumberland Borough Mayor Daniel Berard has joined critics amid worries about downstream impacts and concerns over toxic "forever chemicals" being washed into the river, which is a drinking source for millions, Inside Climate News reports. 

Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.POWER MINES: The New York Times (paywall) lists 34 big Bitcoin mines in the U.S., several in Pennsylvania, that are pressuring power grids while potentially creating higher electricity bills and pollution for those around them. Some are subsidized by the public and using 30,000 times more power than the average home. More are proposed here, at least one with its own controversial power supply.

Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.PAPER TRAIL: The ethics of the Philadelphia sheriff's office are again in question. The Inquirer (paywall) reports Sheriff Rochelle Bilal tried to double her salary to $285,000 a year — the highest of any elected city official — using money meant for new hires. Bilal did so, the paper says, while describing her office as "consistently underfunded" and "severely" short-staffed. She asked council for more money just last week.

Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.TAX HELP: WESA explains how Pennsylvanians can use their taxes to sign up for health insurance through the state's Affordable Care Act marketplace outside of open enrollment periods. Taxes are due April 18, and the option is especially important this year with thousands of Pennsylvanians facing the loss of Medicaid coverage. Subsidized health coverage is available through the state's ACA marketplace.

ACTING PRESIDENT: Temple University has named JoAnne Epps acting president following Jason Wingard's sudden resignation.

LOCAL NEWS: The nonprofit news organization Resolve Philly will train and pay residents to attend and write about public meetings.

GOING ONCE: Pennsylvania's treasury is auctioning off unclaimed property from its vault today and tomorrow. @ErikOpenRecords has a preview.

CITY SIGHTS: Here's mesmerizing aerial footage of Pennsylvania's capital on Easter Sunday, via WGAL's Tom Lehman.

CLOSING DAY: Seventy-year Bellefonte staple Plumb’s Drug Store closes Monday. The owners told CDT (paywall) they "can't afford it anymore."

Unscramble and send your answer to scrambler@spotlightpa.org. We'll shout out winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA swag. Answers submitted by 6 p.m. on issue date will be counted.

Yesterday's answer: Opprobrium

Congrats to our daily winners: Eric F., Beth T., Rodney G., Craig W., Don H., Barbara F., Theresa T., Mike B., Susan D., Sherri A., Joel S., Susan N.-Z., Elaine C., John A., Dianne K., Dennis M., Jon W., Kim C., Georgann J., Beth H., Daniel S., Starr B., Stanley J., Robert C., Justin C., Lynne E., William S., Bill S., Sarah B., Kimberly D., John P., James B., and Tom M.
Like PA Post? Share it with a friend.

Love PA Post? Support it with a tax-deductible gift.

Forwarded this newsletter? Subscribe here.
Spotlight PA is an independent, non-partisan newsroom powered by The Philadelphia Inquirer in partnership with PennLive/The Patriot-News, TribLIVE/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and WITF Public Media.

Copyright © Spotlight PA / The Philadelphia Inquirer, All rights reserved.

Spotlight PA
228 Walnut St., #11728
Harrisburg, PA 17108-1728


You're receiving this email because you subscribed to PA Post, a daily newsletter by Spotlight PA.

This email was sent to: <<Email Address>>

Receiving too many emails from Spotlight PA?

To change your newsletter subscriptions and frequency, you can update your preferences.

To stop receiving fundraising messages, you can update your preferences and select "Opt out of Fundraising."

To stop receiving ALL EMAILS from Spotlight PA, including all of our investigations and newsletters, you can completely unsubscribe here.