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LOS ANGELES, CA – On Monday, New York Times writer Stuart A. Thompson published an article essentially defending Konnech, an election software company that has been the subject of numerous 2020 election denier conspiracy theories. But unfortunately for Thompson, by Wednesday his defense of Konnech was shattered into a million pieces – by his own newspaper, no less – when the company’s Chief Executive Officer was arrested for alleged data theft.
Thompson’s article on Monday opened by describing “an invitation-only conference in August” of individuals who believe that the 2020 presidential election was “rigged” against Donald Trump, and – while at the conference – they concocted a new conspiracy theory concerning Konnech’s role in the purported wrongdoing.
“Using threadbare evidence, or none at all, the group suggested that a small American election software company, Konnech, had secret ties to the Chinese Communist Party and had given the Chinese government backdoor access to personal data of about 2 million poll workers in the United States, according to online accounts from several people at the conference,” Thompson wrote.
Fast-forward two days, and its being reported that the founder and CEO of Konnech, Eugene Yu, is now in police custody, accused of data theft by storing Los Angeles County poll worker information on servers in China; this act is in direct violation of the company’s contract with the county of Los Angeles, according to a statement released by Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón.
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“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 statement said. “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.”
Yu was arrested in his home state of Michigan, and according to Gascón, extradition proceedings are underway; in addition, it was also announced that authorities had seized “hard drives and other digital evidence” from the company executive.
“I want to thank my prosecutors and investigators for their commitment to eliminating cyber intrusions against government entities and local businesses,” Gascón’s 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.”
Gascón stressed that the data theft was in no way tied to voting outcomes, saying that, “the alleged conduct had no impact on the tabulation of votes and did not alter election results.”
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