Tag Archive for: los angeles county

CEO Allegedly Conspired To Store California Election Workers’ Data In China

Eugene Yu, whom police arrested last week for alleged data theft, allegedly conspired to store California election workers’ personal data in China during the 2020 presidential election, prosecutors said in a court filing Thursday.

Yu’s firm, Konnech, entered a contract with Los Angeles County to provide secure poll worker management software for the 2020 election that stipulated all employee payroll and scheduling data collected by the company should be stored in the U.S., according to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office. Despite multiple statements to The New York Times denying Yu or Konnech stored data in China, new court filings indicate that Yu deliberately collaborated with unknown conspirators to transfer the personal information of hundreds of Los Angeles election workers through third party contractors based in China.

Luis Nabergoi, Konnech’s project manager for the Los Angeles operation, sent a memo via Chinese messaging app DingTalk around Aug. 18 confirming Chinese contractors exercised so-called “superadministration” privileges for all clients of Konnech’s PollChief software, the court documents state. Nabergoi called the situation a “huge security issue.”

The Chinese company with whom Konnech contracted was responsible for developing troubleshooting software, according to the NYT.

On Oct. 4, Nabergoi sent an internal email informing Konnech employees the company was “moving t0 a new stage in the company maturity and we need to ensure the security, privacy and confidentiality or [sic] our client data,” the court documents state.

The documents also included allegations the company embezzled at least $2,645,000 by violating the company’s contract with Los Angeles County.

Authorities arrested Yu in Michigan on Oct. 5 following initial allegations that Konnech stored the personal information of Los Angeles election workers in servers located in China, extraditing him to California afterward.

“Data breaches are 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,” District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement.

Gascón said the event could constitute a “cyber intrusion” in U.S. elections.

None of the data appeared to have been sold, according to the Los Angeles Times. However, intelligence services operating on behalf of Beijing could obtain access to information from private companies housed in Chinese servers, according to a 2020 Foreign Policy report.

None of Konnech’s actions had an effect on vote counting or altered election results, according to the L.A. District Attorney’s office.

True The Vote, a election integrity organization, previously reported concerns about Yu and Konnech to the FBI in 2021 after claiming their researchers had accessed Konnech data from servers in China, according to the NYT. Los Angeles County authorities began investigating Konnech after receiving a tip from Gregg Phillips, a True The Vote associate.

After Yu’s arrest, Konnech distributed a letter to clients claiming the company “never hosted your data or system in servers outside of the United States,” the NYT reported.

The district attorney declined to say whether other individuals were under investigation, the NYT reported.

Konnech did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.




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