LA County forces employees to submit personal info to a China-connected company

Fox News's Bill Melugin has broken a big and disturbing story about COVID testing in Los Angeles County.  It turns out that the county gave all COVID vaccination data rights to a company that has links to China and that freely admits that it saves and disseminates personal information it obtains through its work.  The L.A. County sheriff is refusing to let his employees participate, but the county isn't backing down.  Instead, it insists that everything is under control.

Los Angeles County employs more than 100,000 people.  On August 4, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors mandated that all 100,000-plus county employees be vaccinated by October 1 or risk getting fired.  As part of its vaccination requirement, the county entered into a no-bid contract with Fulgent Systems:

All County workforce members must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and must provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19, unless they have been granted an exemption for medical or religious reasons.

The County is expanding its contract with Fulgent, a leader in laboratory testing services and an existing vendor with the County, to maintain employee vaccination records and conduct required regular COVID-19 testing for applicable employees, contractors, and volunteers.

Melugin tweeted that many employees are deeply disturbed about Fulgent's involvement with the project because it openly admits that it collects and disseminates data it receives:

We may store, process and transmit personal information in locations around the world, including locations outside of the country or jurisdiction where you are located. Such countries or jurisdictions may have data protection laws that are less protective than the laws of the jurisdiction in which you reside. If you do not want your information transferred to or processed or maintained outside of the country or jurisdiction where you are located, you should not use our Services.

Notwithstanding this warning, Los Angeles County makes it a condition of employment that people use Fulgent's services:

The whole issue heated up dramatically when Alex Villaneuva, the sheriff for the County of Los Angeles, and a truly independent thinker, told the county that the Sheriff's Department will not work with Fulgent.  What's shocking is the basis for this refusal: he received a warning from the FBI that Fulgent has links to China, and that, combined with articles warning that China is collecting genetic data for a vast database, has him saying, essentially, "No, we will not comply."

Just a couple of days ago, Discourse Magazine wrote that China has for years been collecting information on everybody from every possible source:

China operates a techno-surveillance state collecting vast amounts of data domestically to ensure social stability. Using tactics from facial recognition programs to monitoring messages between friends, China maintains a large network of data collection points and management systems that allows government officials to monitor anyone in China at almost any time. But significantly less has been written about how China collects data that enable it to monitor foreign individuals and institutions.

China's intelligence and security data collection targeting foreign institutions and individuals takes place across a broad array of threat vectors and by a wide range of actors. The government amasses information from public data available on platforms such as Google, corporate websites, Twitter and Facebook.

This practice is supplemented by Chinese electronics and technology companies that collect and share user data on foreign consumers. In an authoritarian state with a large electronics manufacturing sector, this fusion of government surveillance with private-sector cooperation creates a significant threat to privacy abroad, from intrusive data collection to unauthorized remote use of electronics such as headset microphones or cameras.

There's lots more, and it's worth reading, so you understand that you are being spied on by a hostile country.

As of now, the FBI has declined to comment to Melugin.  He did, however, hear back from the office of one of the Los Angeles County supervisors, Kathryn Barger.

The county says that it has a contract with Fulgent prohibiting disclosure and requiring that the data be stored solely in the U.S.  It also says the county will act immediately if there's a credible threat that employee data are being misused.  However, given that Fulgent already has the data and China already has a pipeline to Fulgent, a cynic like me assumes that by the time there's word that China has absconded with personal information, it's too late to get that horse back into the barn.

Moreover, while there's no reason to believe that Fulgent won't behave honorably, the fact that China apparently has tentacles within the company should get people's hackles up.  China is not known for resisting the urge to spy and commit espionage.  Indeed, a large part of its industrial and military sectors are, or so I've heard, built using information obtained through espionage.

Alex Villaneuva is correct that this whole thing smells bad.  It's one more troublesome outcropping of the vaccine mania that powers the Democrats and sees them trying their best to erase individual liberties and give China — the origin point for COVID — a helping hand in benefiting from the virus.

Image: Los Angeles County Human Resources home page.

To comment, you can find the MeWe post for this article here.

If you experience technical problems, please write to