U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan is asking Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki for more information about a breach of personal information on the eBenefits site in North Carolina.
WTVD reported last month that for a time people using the website got other veterans’ financial and medical information. The TV news station said the VA said it discovered a software defect that allowed users to see other people’s information as well as their own, and that the VA shut the system down until it could be fixed.
The Greensboro Demcrat said the VA was conducting a full review of the incident, but said in a letter to Shinseki that she wanted to know how the VA would notify veterans whose information was disclosed in the security breach and what steps it was taking to prevent it from happening again. Her office released the letter on Monday.
“I am also interested in learning how this incident might affect the VA’s efforts to reduce the backlog of disability claims,” Hagan wrote. “Particularly on the heels of high-profile data breaches in the private sector, I fear that diminished trust in the safety of eBenefits would discourage veterans from utilizing the online system, which the VA has deemed a critical piece of the puzzle in eliminating the backlog.”
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Both Hagan and Sen. Richard Burr of Winston Salem have been pushing the VA to eliminate the backlog of disability claims at the Winston-Salem regional office.