Report: Scandal-plagued voting software company Konnech has significant ties to China, despite denials by its criminally accused CEO
Michigan-based voting software company Konnech filed a defamation lawsuit against Texas-based group True the Vote in September. True had the vote accused the company is both “owned by the Chinese Communist Party” and involved in “undermining our elections.” connection denied the allegations, although their credibility is now being called into question.
On October 4, Konnech CEO Eugene Yu, who lived in China until 1986, was arrested on suspicion of data theft for allegedly “storing critical information that [U.S. election] Workers deployed on servers in China.”
Prosecutor Eric Neff recommended that the crimes allegedly committed by Konnech and Yu constituted the “largest data breach in United States history.”
Yu was charged again last week with grand larceny by embezzling over $2.6 million in funds.
In addition to Yu’s arrest and recent charges that his company was storing sensitive American data on servers under the “supreme administration” of Chinese contractors in a hostile nation, Konnech’s alleged ties to Chinese voting companies have also come under scrutiny.
A new investigation report — Part of an ongoing series of deep dives by Kanekoa News on Substack — details the links between an allegedly defunct China-based Konnech subsidiary and major CCP-controlled telecom companies that the Federal Communications Commission has classified as a “national security threat.” .
“China’s National Conditions”
That criminal complaint The allegation, filed Oct. 13 by Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón’s office, alleges that from October 10, 2019 to October 4, 2022, Yu and other Konnech associates provided Los Angeles County election software solutions “using in China resident third-party providers have provided .”
Luis Nabergoi, project manager for Konnech’s contract with Los Angeles County, confirmed on Aug. 18 that “every employee of Chinese contractors working on the PollChief software had ‘super administration’ privileges for all PollChief customers,” which is a “huge security problem”.
kanekoa pointed out that while prosecutors referred to “Chinese contractors” and “third-party software developers,” they made no mention of Konnech’s Chinese subsidiary.
Earlier this month, the New York Times reported that “Konnech once owned Jinhua Yulian Network Technology, a subsidiary from China where programmers developed and tested software.” According to reports, “Konnech closed the subsidiary in 2021 and no longer has employees in China.”
According to reports, Yu Jinhua founded Yulian Network Technology on November 29, 2005. The CEO of Konnech registered the subsidiary’s website “yu-lian.cn” in February 2006 at email@example.com.
Despite its characterization by Konnech and the New York Times as a subsidiary that only tests software with “dummy data,” Jinhua Yulian Network Technology’s “About Us” page reveals, archived December 7, 2013tells a different story.
According to its website (yu-lian.cn), Jinhua Yulian Software has been “focused on providing election management software and election consulting services in line with China’s national conditions.”
According to Kanekoa, as recently as 2018, Jinhua Yulian Network Technology bid for deals with the Chinese communist government to provide “electronic voting systems.”
Kanekoa reported that Konnech’s Chinese connections didn’t end there.
“Patent AssignmentsEmployee profiles and domain registrations reveal that Konnech is also deeply linked to another Chinese software company called Jinhua Hongzheng Technology, which has worked with numerous Chinese state-linked telecom giants, including Huawei, China Telecom, China Unicom and China Mobile.
Earlier this year, the FCC deems China Mobile and China Telecom “a threat to national security.” Huawei and China Unicom were similar identified as service providers who pose “an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States or the safety of US persons.”
According to Kanekoa, Jinhua Hongzheng Technology is “the leading election technology provider for China’s National People’s Congress.”
Konnech CEO Eugene Yu allegedly registered “hongzhengtech.cn” for Hongzheng Technology on July 31, 2015 at firstname.lastname@example.org, giving Konnech control of Hongzheng’s website.
reason to worry
This isn’t the first time Konnech’s connections in the Anglosphere have raised concerns.
July 2020 was about Konnech’s Chinese relations behaved in the Parliament of Queensland, Australia.
One MP asked about Konnech’s “affiliation with the Chinese Communist Party through its China-based subsidiary Jinhua Konnech Inc.”, only to reassure himself that “recent media reports claiming that offshore coders can access sensitive voter roll data are false.” are”.
Kaneokoa pointed out that it is entirely possible that “Chinese election software companies affiliated with the Chinese government embed malicious spyware in election software rebranded by an American subsidiary and sold in the United States.”
“It doesn’t go beyond the capabilities of ‘Chinese contractors’ linked to the National People’s Congress of China to deeply embed malicious spyware into seemingly harmless software that silently infiltrates, monitors, collects and sends stolen data back to its developers,” Kanekoa added added.
Former CIA Operations Officer Sam Faddis written down that the “super administration” access Konnech allegedly granted to Chinese third-party providers would allow them “effectively to do anything within that system. He or she can erase data, steal data, alter data, change programming, etc.”
Faddis said “that person can cover their tracks because they may also be able to access and change all security protocols and programs.”
Corresponding Konnech website, It has 32 customers in North America.
A number of counties and municipalities have stopped using Konnech’s PollChief software and terminated their contracts with the company, including:
- Fairfax County, Va. The Fairfax County Office of Elections announced that it “has stopped using PollChief management software for election officials used in Fairfax County and is terminating its contract with software developer Konnech.” Bureau Election Superintendent Eric Spicer noted that Fairfax County “never used software from this company to collect or store sensitive personal information such as Social Security numbers or banking information.”
- Detroit, Mich. Detroit ended its $320,000 contract with Konnech, which was approved by Detroit City Council last year. The city worked with Konnech on several bespoke applications, including software for quickly scanning ballots and a mobile app for mail-in ballot records for uniformed officers and citizens abroad.
- Loudoun County, Virginia. WSHU reported that election officials “finally decided to stop using the Konnech software as a preventive measure”. The county backed up its poll worker data from Konnech and decided to use other systems this fall.
- Prince William County, Virginia. Prince William County announced on October 7th: “Effective this week we have suspended the use of PollChief and are deleting all data on their server to prevent further problems.”
Some cities and counties continue to work with Konnech and use its software despite misconduct and disclosure concerns, including:
- Allen County, Indiana. Amy Scrogham, director of the Allen County Board of Elections, announced on Tuesday that Allen County will maintain its relationship with Konnech at least until Election Day, but after that “will review and see what our best options are.” In an Oct. 18 release obtained by TheBlaze, the Allen County Elections Committee stated that the “database maintained by Konnech contains no confidential information about poll workers” and that Konnech does not store Allen County voter information.
- DeKalb County, Georgia. On October 10, DeKalb’s Registration and Election Committee held a special meeting and voted 3-2 to maintain the contract with Konnech. The vote was decided along the party line, with only Republicans dissenting.
- Alameda County, California. According to that Merkur NewsAlameda County only uses the software to track ballot boxes and will continue to do so unabated.
- Contra Costa County, California. Helen Nolan, an assistant registrar for Contra Costa County, cited assurances from Konnech that the county’s data would be stored in Michigan — a promise the Los Angeles Attorney’s Office said may have been violated. Contra Costa will maintain his relationship with Konnech.
- San Francisco County, California. According to John Arntz, Director of Elections in San Francisco, PollChief is only used to track inventory. The district too allegedly uses PollChief for payroll and will continue to use the software.
- Los Angeles County, California. LAC told TheBlaze that “Konnech has confirmed compliance with the contract and at this time no information has been provided to the Department confirming the storage of data outside the United States or specific information as to what data is linked to the allegations.” . Lacking confirmation and/or additional information on county data, use of the application continued with security oversight and contract monitoring to prevent disruption to the ongoing election.”
TheBlaze has reached out to Minneapolis Elections & Voter Services for comment to determine if further on its October 7 statement In light of concerns over allegations of “inappropriate handling of personal data”, action has been taken in relation to the contract with Konnech or the use of PollChief’s voting software. A city spokesman reiterated that “the city has no reason to believe data from its poll workers is involved.”
The spokesman for Minneapolis Elections & Voter Services added, “The purpose of the agreement with Konnech Inc. is to provide the City of Minneapolis with a poll worker management system (PollChief) for the purposes of electoral judges and polling station management.”
TheBlaze also reached out to the Milwaukee Electoral Commission, which allegedly inked a $111,500 deal with Konnech in August to provide the city with its PollChief software. The MEC has yet to respond.
Santa Clara County, California signed a contract with Konnech in June, but the technology has not yet been implemented. The Mercury News noted that the district is “reviewing the situation for appropriate action.”
https://www.theblaze.com/news/report-scandalized-election-software-company-konnech-has-substantial-chinese-links-despite-criminally-charged-ceos-denials Report: Scandal-plagued voting software company Konnech has significant ties to China, despite denials by its criminally accused CEO