Head of Election Worker Management Company Arrested for Storing Information on Servers in China

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

The head of an election management company was arrested after it was found that personal data of election workers was stored on servers in China, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced this week.

Gascón detailed the arrest of Konnech Corporation Chief Executive Officer Eugene Yu, the head of a Michigan-based company which managed the software organizing poll workers in Los Angeles County, on Thursday. According to the press release, his arrest is directly tied to “part of an investigation into the possible theft of personal identifying information of those workers.” However, it assures that this has had no impact on actual election results but recognizes that this level of malfeasance could further undermine faith in our election systems and processes:

Earlier today, Konnech Corporation Chief Executive Officer Eugene Yu was taken into custody on suspicion of theft of personal identifying information by investigators from the District Attorney’s Office Bureau of Investigation with assistance from the Meridian Township Police Department in Michigan. In addition, hard drives and other digital evidence were seized by LADA investigators.

According to the LA County district attorney’s office, Konnech’s software was used to in LA County in the last California election, and it was “supposed to securely maintain the data and that only United States citizens and permanent residents have access to it.” This data, however, was stored on servers in China:

Under its $2.9 million, five-year contract with the county, Konnech was supposed to securely maintain the data and that only United States citizens and permanent residents have access to it.

District Attorney investigators found that in contradiction to the contract, information was stored on servers in the People’s Republic of China.

The Associated Press

In this undated file photo provided by the County of Los Angeles, incoming Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon speaks after he was sworn in a virtual ceremony in downtown Los Angeles. (Bryan Chan/County of Los Angeles via AP)

“I want to thank my prosecutors and investigators for their commitment to eliminating cyber intrusions against government entities and local businesses,” Gascón said in a statement, identifying data breaches as an “ongoing threat to our digital way of life.”

“When we entrust a company to hold our confidential data, they must be willing and able to protect our personal identifying information from theft. Otherwise, we are all victims,” he added.

The DA’s office is seeking Yu’s extradition to Los Angeles, according to the press release.

Notably, Konnech Inc. recently filed a lawsuit against election integrity organization True the Vote over allegations lodged against the company.  In this process, a judge granted a temporary restraining order against True the Vote leaders Catherine Engelbrecht and Gregg Phillips, as the lawsuit alleges they “have intentionally, repeatedly, and relentlessly attacked” the company and Yu.

The complaint states in part:

As the Texas Tribune reported:

The suit was brought by Konnech Inc., a small elections logistics company based in Michigan. It alleges that True the Vote and its followers launched a stream of false and racist accusations against the company’s founder, forcing him and his family to flee their home in fear for their lives and damaging the company’s business. The suit cites True the Votes’ public claims that it hacked the company’s servers and accessed the personal information of nearly 2 million U.S. poll workers.

Election integrity organization True the Vote released a statement following the district attorney’s announcement, expressing gratitude for playing a “small role in what must have been a wide ranging and complex investigation”:
True the Vote was sued last month by Konnech to try to silence our organization, including obtaining an ex-parte TRO, conducted in secret so that True the Vote had no opportunity to contest it. This TRO limited True the Vote’s ability to speak on the litigation. Today Konnech CEO Eugene Yu was arrested based on alleged evidence of the very activities he and his organization attempted to suppress. Konnech was assisted by many reporters who unblinkingly accepted their now discredited claims as fact, and simply repeated them.

“Election integrity should not be a partisan issue, nor should media try to suppress all conversation about it in a way that benefits one party,” True the Vote Founder Catherine Engelbrecht said in a statement, vowing to “continue to report evidence of threats to our election process and work with law enforcement to ensure our elections are a secure space for all American voters.”


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