New details in Georgia data breach; state report released Monday

The IT employee fired over a massive data breach in the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office took the brunt of the blame in a state report released Monday afternoon.

That employee, longtime state programmer Gary Cooley, flouted office protocol and policy, according to the report, which was done jointly by the office and the state Department of Human Resources.

“The data release issue internally was due to Mr. Cooley working outside of and circumventing established policies and procedures,” the report concluded. It called for more training and clearer policies and management.

In an exclusive interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution two weeks ago, Cooley acknowledged that he should have been more cautious in the chain of events leading up to the breach. But Cooley also outlined a more complicated series of missteps and miscommunication, both within the office and with PCC Technology Group, an outside vendor tasked with managing voter data for the state.

The report’s release came as a member of Georgia’s congressional delegation called for federal authorities to investigate a breach of sensitive data affecting more than 6 million Peach State voters.

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