Phillips-Hill pushes for more safeguards for taxpayer and student data on National Data Privacy Day

HARRISBURG –Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York) called on the Senate of Pennsylvania to take action on a package of bills she’s sponsored to address ongoing concerns with data privacy and protection in state government and public schools.

“Data breaches can affect livelihoods, cripple businesses and cost taxpayers millions,” she said during Monday’s Senate session, where she highlighted three bills she’s sponsoring. “This is the crime of the 21st century, so we have to be many steps ahead of the curve in pursuing solutions.”

Phillips-Hill is proposing three solutions in the state Senate to address data privacy.

She is sponsoring a major overhaul of the state’s IT systems with Senator Ryan Aument (R-Lancaster). Their bill would consolidate the administration and management of the state’s information technology under the Office of Information Technology.

“We’ve seen cyber-attacks severely impact the Departments of Human Services, Corrections and Education over the last few years,” Phillips-Hill said. “These aren’t anecdotes, these are real life situations. We must move our Commonwealth’s IT systems into 2019 standards because if the past is a guide, we will see more attacks happen to state government, leaving our taxpayers and employees vulnerable.”

Under another proposal, the state would have guidelines to alert Pennsylvanians in the event of a data breach within state government. It would also require annual data security reviews of state agencies, the legislature and state courts.

In addition, Phillips-Hill will sponsor legislation that would establish the Student Data Privacy Act. The proposal would define what student data is protected, who is responsible for the data and procedures in the event of a data breach. It would also require the Pennsylvania Department of Education to create the role of the Chief Data Privacy Officer to ensure student data is protected throughout the Commonwealth.

“We have huge issues confronting our commonwealth when it comes to how we best secure our data, and the cost and impact of data breaches will only continue to go up,” Phillips-Hill said. “We need to be increasingly vigilant to keep pace with criminals who seek to steal the personal information of others.”

You can watch Senator Phillips-Hill’s speech here.

You can listen to Senator Phillips-Hill’s speech here.