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Election Software Executive Arrested on Suspicion of Theft


The highest executive of an elections technology company that has been the main focus of attention amongst election deniers was arrested by Los Angeles County officials in reference to an investigation into the possible theft of private details about poll staff, the county said on Tuesday.

Eugene Yu, the founder and chief executive of Konnech, the technology company, was taken into custody on suspicion of theft, the Los Angeles County district attorney, George Gascón, said in an announcement.

Konnech, which relies in Michigan, develops software to administer election logistics, like scheduling poll staff. Los Angeles County is amongst its customers.

The corporate has been accused by groups difficult the validity of the 2020 presidential election with storing details about poll staff on servers in China. The corporate has repeatedly denied keeping data outside america, including in recent statements to The Latest York Times.

Mr. Gascón’s office said its investigators had found data stored in China. Holding the information there would violate Konnech’s contract with the county.

With the primaries over, each parties are shifting their focus to the final election on Nov. 8.

The county released few other details about its investigation. However it said in its statement that the fees related only to data about poll staff — and that “the alleged conduct had no impact on the tabulation of votes and didn’t alter election results.”

“Data breaches are an ongoing threat to our digital lifestyle,” the district attorney’s office said within the statement. “After we entrust an organization to carry our confidential data, they have to be willing and in a position to protect our personal identifying information from theft. Otherwise, we’re all victims.”

In an announcement, a spokesman for Konnech said that the corporate was attempting to learn the small print “of what we imagine to be Mr. Yu’s wrongful detention,” and that it stood by statements it made in a lawsuit against election deniers who had accused the corporate of wrongdoing.

“Any L.A. County poll employee data that Konnech could have possessed was provided to it by L.A. County and due to this fact couldn’t have been ‘stolen’ as suggested,” the spokesman said.

The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office said in an emailed statement that it had cause to imagine that private information on election staff was “criminally mishandled.” It was in search of to extradite Mr. Yu, who lives in Michigan, to Los Angeles.

Konnech got here under scrutiny this 12 months by several election deniers, including a founding father of True the Vote, a nonprofit that claims it’s dedicated to uncovering election fraud. True the Vote said its team had downloaded personal information on 1.8 million American poll staff from a server owned by Konnech and hosted in China. It said it obtained the information by utilizing the server’s default password, which it said was “password,” in response to online accounts from individuals who attended a conference about voter fraud where the claims were made. The group provided no evidence that it had downloaded the information, saying that it had given the knowledge to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The claims quickly spread online, with some advocates raising concerns about China’s influence on America’s election system.

Claims about Konnech reached Dekalb County in Georgia, which was near signing a contract with the corporate. The county’s Republican Party chairwoman, Marci McCarthy, raised concerns during a public comment period on the county’s elections board meeting on Sept. 8, questioning where the corporate stored and secured its data.

Konnech rebutted the claims, telling The Latest York Times that it had records on fewer than 240,000 staff on the time and that it had detected no data breach. Konnech owned a subsidiary in China that developed and tested software. The corporate said programmers there at all times used “dummy” test data. The subsidiary was closed in 2021.

Last month, Konnech sued True the Vote and Catherine Engelbrecht, its founder, in addition to Gregg Phillips, an election denier who often works with the group. Konnech claimed the group had engaged in defamation, theft and a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act — which made it illegal to access a pc without authorization — amongst other charges.

The judge within the case granted Konnech’s request for an emergency restraining order, which required True the Vote to reveal who had allegedly gained access to Konnech’s data. True the Vote released the name in a sealed court filing.

“The organization is profoundly grateful to the Los Angeles district attorney’s office for his or her thorough work and rapid motion on this matter,” the group said in an announcement.

The Los Angeles district attorney’s office said it was unaware of True the Vote’s investigation and said it had no input on the county’s investigation.

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