Taking Back Our Stolen History
Chinese CEO of Election Software Company ‘Konnech’ Arrested for Sending American Poll Workers’ Data to China
Chinese CEO of Election Software Company ‘Konnech’ Arrested for Sending American Poll Workers’ Data to China

Chinese CEO of Election Software Company ‘Konnech’ Arrested for Sending American Poll Workers’ Data to China

Just one day after the New York Times attempted to downplay suspicions around the election software company Konnech, the company’s CEO, Eugene Yu, has been taken into custody under suspicion of sending data on American poll workers to Communist China. During Arizona’s PIT conference in August, election integrity warriors Phillips and Engelbrecht alleged they were cooperating with the FBI in Michigan about data being sent overseas by this company.  The investigation quickly started to turn on them after the FBI started to distance itself from the investigation.

Kanekoa The Great, a spectacular investigative journalist and blogger, reported about the findings of The Pit on September 8, 2022- In January 2021, Phillips said that the cyber analyst he had been working with encountered an “oddity in some of the URLs” such as vote4la.com, vote4detroit.com, and vote4boston.com, which Konnech’s “PollChief” software application used to gather personally-identifying information about poll workers.

Using Binary Edge, a software product companies use to identify and assess the risk of cyber breaches, “We began to look at where these URLs actually resolve to. We found that most of them resolve to one IP address and that IP address — the URL resolved in China,” Phillips said.

“What we also learned in our review, apps.konnech.com [.net], resolved into this same URL in China, meaning that the application itself was residing in China,” he continued.

“In Binary Edge, you can figure out what type of database they are using, their database port, and all the different services offered by ports in this particular application living in China. It turned out that not only did it live there, but they left the database open.”

This database “stored the personally identifying information of over a million Americans,” he emphasized.

Engelbrecht and Phillips decided that “this was a major national security risk” and immediately took the information to the FBI.

According to Jennifer Van Laar at RedState Chinese official with ‘superadministration’ privileges were given access to the Konnech system.

And, just as many have suspected, Chinese “contractors” (code for CCP operatives; don’t kid yourself) have had full access to not just the personal identifying information of Los Angeles County election workers (emphasis mine):

“On or about August 18, 2022, Luis Nabergoi, project manager for Konnech’s contract with the County of Los Angeles, confirmed via the messaging app DingTalk that any employee for Chinese contractors working on PollChief software had ‘superadministration’ privileges for all PollChief clients. Mr. Nabergoi described the situation as a ‘huge security issue.’”

It’s more than just a “huge security issue.” Even if nothing nefarious has been done with that access, a possibility which requires the suspension of disbelief, this revelation validates every concern that has been expressed in the security of our elections since, well, long before 2020. But we know it was happening through August, 2022, at a minimum. And while the City of Minneapolis initially defended its contract with Konnech, saying there was no information that the personal identifying information of their poll workers was compromised, officials might want to revisit that statement in light of the above.

In addition, one function PollChief software provides is management of “election workers and voting
locations (including Vote Centers, drop boxes and check-in centers),” meaning that election officials can use the software to assign employees to retrieve ballots from drop boxes and deliver them to the elections office, and uses GPS and location data from the app on the employee’s phone to determine which employee is located closest to the drop box and continues to track their location for chain-of-custody purposes. However, as some have pointed out, it’s certainly possible that this app could be repurposed for ballot harvesting and delivery purposes.

The Epoch Times has more on China’s access to Konnech’s data.

Despite these obligations, Konnech employees were sending personal identifying information of Los Angeles election workers to third-party software developers in China “who assisted in creating and fixing” Konnech’s software known as PollChief, according to a complaint California prosecutors filed on Oct. 14.

In August, Luis Nabergoi, a Konnech project manager overseeing the Los Angeles contract, wrote in a Chinese-owned messaging app that any employees for Chinese contractors working on PollChief software would have “superadministration” access to the client data, the complaint alleges.

100 Percent Fed Up reports – Konnech, much like Dominion, almost immediately sued True the Vote as a way to silence them and keep them from speaking out about the bombshell information they provided to reporters at The Pit related to Konnech and the unlawful transfer of information from America to China.

Fake News

On October 3, the New York Times published an article by reporter Stuart Thompson titled “How a Tiny Elections Company Became a Conspiracy Theory Target,” in which he claimed that “election deniers” were targeting Konnech, a Michigan election software firm with just 21 U.S. employees, and had developed a theory with “threadbare evidence” that the company had ties to the Chinese Communist Party and had given the Chinese government backdoor access to the personal data of around two million poll workers in the United States.

Thompson suggested that such beliefs were ridiculous and anyone suggesting there was validity to these claims was simply an “election denier,” spinning conspiracy theories.

On October 4, just one day later, the NYT published another article from Thompson titled “Election Software Executive Arrested on Suspicion of Theft,” in which he reported that Eugene Yu, the CEO of Konnech, had been arrested under suspicion of theft after U.S. user data was found stored in China — exactly what the “election deniers” that Thompson had derided claimed.

The theft of data only impacted the election workers, alleged corrupt Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon.  The LADA seized hard drives and other digital evidence from the Michigan software firm with the assistance of Meridian Township Police in MI.  The LADA is seeking Yu’s extradition to Los Angeles.

Following the CEO’s arrest Fairfax County in Virginia announced they stopped using Konnech’s PollChief election officer management software, and Detroit terminated its contract with Konnech following its founder’s arrest.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Konnech said that the company was attempting to learn the details “of what we believe to be Mr. Yu’s wrongful detention,” and that it stood by recent statements it made in a lawsuit defending its handling of user data.

Read more at the New York Times here.

During a Zoom call following the indictment, Ingham County Prosecutors Office Unit Chief Nicole Matusko called Mr. Yu a significant flight risk and explained how they believed he was attempting to potentially flee the United States. When he was arrested, he was arrested with luggage on his way to the airport with his cell phone left behind (likely so he could not be tracked).

During a 2022 hearing on overseas signature verification in the 3rd Circuit Court of MI, Judge Kenny repeatedly berated Attorney Dan Hartman and allowed the defense lawyer David Fink to go off on political rants about “right-wing fever dreams” and “election deniers.” (around the 3 hour mark)  Attorney Fink accused Hartman of racism despite the fact that the lawsuit was filed by Kristina Karamo who was a black female conservative running for Secretary of State in Michigan who lost in the corrupt election run by her competitor.

Detroit was neck deep in the Konnech election systems in 2020, a company that stored their data on China servers. Detroit Election Administrator Daniel Baxter also said the City of Detroit No Longer uses anything from Konnech.

According to WDET– The City of Detroit canceled their contract with Konnech only days after he was arrested in Michigan as part of a Los Angeles Co.-based investigation. 

Konnech had a five-year, $2.9 million contract with the county to administer poll worker assignments, communications and payroll. LA County prosecutors found that Konnech was storing information in China in violation of the agreement.

Data breaches are an ongoing threat to our digital way of life,” LA District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement. 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.”

Detroit had a similar contract with Konnech for the use of its PollChief software, which is said to have the ability to send mass letters, emails and phone calls to polling locations and record responses of election workers. The $320,000 contract, approved last year by Detroit City Council, was set to expire in June 2024. According to city and federal records, Konnech had worked with the city on several specific applications for more than a decade, including ballot fast scanning” software and a mobile app for Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) returned ballots.

Following news of Yus arrest, Detroit terminated its current contract with Konnech. In a statement, City Clerk Janice Winfrey upheld the integrity of Detroits election process and the security of employee information.

Our data, which is now back under our exclusive control, was housed on servers located in Lansing, Michigan. Konnech, per its contract, only provided logistical and call center support,” said Winfrey. Out of an abundance of caution, all proper steps are being taken — including the termination of Konnechs contract. My staff and I are confident that the 2022 election process will run smoothly delivering, after all votes have been counted, an unimpeachable work product.”

In a Detroit City Council Meeting on October 14, 2020, Timothy Gaffney, the Detroit Manager of Elections said this about the county’s use of the Konnech systems:

So the point of this Konnech contract was for us to actually have the ability to mass scan AV [Absent Voter] Applications. Right now, it’s a manual process where we have to actually enter them in one by one to get them done. So what we had to do was construct a software where we can scan 2,000 applications in a minute and then download a CSV file and upload it to our Qualified Voter File.

Timothy Gaffney, added:

Actually, what we would do is actually pull a file from our qualified voter file. We match the voter information with the voter ID number. So from that process, the way we have it, cause they [Konnech] built it for us. The way it’s actually developed is it matches both names, pulls the signature off the application, it matches, it puts signatures side-by-side from the application and also from our Qualified Voter File. So, a human would still be there saying that this person’s signature is this person’s signature. I [??] that file, and then I upload to our Qualified Voter File. The Qualified Voter File will give us an error report if anything doesn’t match [??].

Director Gaffney explained they did not use the software for the August 2020 primary due to disbursement issues with their grant funding.

Diggersleuth was able to dig up the video from this meeting.  And Diggersleuth also found the exact title of Konnech Contract No. 3045877, approved in October 2020 by the City of Detroit for the amount of $186,624.00.

Grant funding, by the way, was supplied by the Center for Tech and Civic Life, colloquially known as Zuckerbucks and funded by Mark Zuckerberg.

It was unclear in the video of the City Council meeting if the software would be utilized for the November 2020 election. They wanted to make sure the technology was fool-proof. As Director Gaffney stated, “we try not to introduce anything new that would change the process too close to the election” and that “at this time, I would prefer to go with the manual hand process [for November 2020]. I would not like to introduce anything this close to the election.”

Here’s the video of the Detroit City Council meeting where they discuss their contract with Konnech:

The County of Los Angeles dropped the charges against Eugene Yu the day after the midterm election.

Sources:

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