Here’s who may be affected by Ohio’s Pandemic Unemployment Assistance data leak

Here’s who may be affected by Ohio’s Pandemic Unemployment Assistance data leak

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - New numbers show ODJFS has paid out $428,000 so far this week to nearly 77,000 people who applied for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.

Those checks are beginning to hit people’s bank accounts, but at what cost?

Yesterday, 130,000 claimants were notified their personal data may have been compromised in a data leak.

Thursday, 19 News Investigators discovered in order to speed up the process of getting claims filled, the testing phase of the PUA system was much shorter than the standard.

“A system like this typically should take six months to develop, and it was done in four weeks,” ODJFS Director Kim Hall said.

Hall says a couple dozen applicants within the system were allowed to see other applicants data on May 15.

“It wasn’t someone with malicious intent kind of coming in,” she said.

Hall wanted to clarify Thursday, that the incident was not a data breach, but instead a leak.

“A data leak is when you have an inadvertent ability of an individual that is supposed to be in the system to see more things than they should be able to see,” she said.

She says some 26 PUA claimants were accidentally given the ability to view a screen only meant for unemployment staff members.

It contained other people's social security numbers and addresses.

ODJFS says the company that built the PUA system corrected the error in about an hour’s time.

“But, many want to know, could it happen again?” 19 News asked Hall directly.

“The best that we can do and the best that we will do is to continue to apply best practice to shore up and build the strongest firewalls and be as vigilant as we can around the data that our citizens are trusting us with,” Hall said, adding the leak was a system-wide issue.

The same company that built the PUA system in Ohio was also charged with the same task in Colorado and Illinois.

Claimants' data there may have been compromised as well.

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