Eugene Yu, CEO for the Michigan-based election software company Konnech, has been arrested in California. He was allegedly transferring poll worker data to servers in China.
Konnech has been at the center of controversy over the security of voting machines used in the 2020 election.
The arrest was highly embarrassing for the New York Times. One day earlier, they published an article defending Konnech and attacking their critics.
From Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office:
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced today that an executive with a Michigan-based company responsible for the software used in managing Los Angeles County election poll workers has been arrested as part of an investigation into the possible theft of personal identifying information of those workers.
“I want to thank my prosecutors and investigators for their commitment to eliminating cyber intrusions against government entities and local businesses,” District Attorney Gascón said.
“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. Otherwise, we are all victims.
This investigation is concerned solely with the personal identifying information of election workers. In this case, the alleged conduct had no impact on the tabulation of votes and did not alter election results. But security in all aspects of any election is essential so that we all have full faith in the integrity of the election process.”
Earlier today, Konnech 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.
The District Attorney’s Office is seeking Yu’s extradition to Los Angeles.
Konnech distributes and sells its proprietary PollChief software, which is an election worker management system that was utilized by the county in the last California election. The software assists with poll worker assignments, communications and payroll. PollChief requires that workers submit personal identifying information, which is retained by the Konnech.
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 East Lansing Police Department and Ingham County Sheriff’s Office in Michigan also assisted in the investigation.