Department of Health’s Contact Tracing App to be focus of upcoming Senate public hearing

HARRISBURG – In light of a recent announcement by the Pennsylvania Department of Health that they plan to launch a COVID-19 contact tracing app next month, the Senate Communications and Technology Committee will hold a hearing to publicly vet the app and concerns surrounding contact tracing and data privacy, according to committee chair Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York).

“Despite being responsible for answering questions from our constituents about the latest mandates and rules coming from the Department of Health, the General Assembly has had zero input in various mitigation measures including the development of a new COVID-19 contact tracing app,” Phillips-Hill said.

The committee plans to hold the public hearing on Tuesday, September 8 at 10 a.m. from the state Capitol.

The hearing will include officials from the Department of Health, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

“I am very concerned that a state-funded phone app is going to be put out to the masses that could have a major impact on data collection of the public and not account for privacy. Data collection is big business,” Phillips-Hill said. “Eventually we will be in a post COVID-19 world. What happens to that data after this pandemic is over, and does the public know what data this app will collect, where that data is stored, how this data is used and where the data goes after the pandemic?”

“We need to get these questions out in public light before this app launches,” she added.

The hearing will be streamed live on Senator Phillips-Hill’s Facebook Page as well as on the committee’s website.

More information about the upcoming hearing can be found here.

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