LA County sheriff cuts ties with China-linked COVID testing firm over data privacy concerns
By Ramon Tomey // Dec 02, 2021

The sheriff of Los Angeles County in California severed all ties with a China-linked testing firm over data concerns. Sheriff Alex Villanueva said the L.A. County Sheriff's Department (LASD) will no longer work with Fulgent Genetics Inc. for Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) testing and registration.


Villanueva made the announcement in a Nov. 29 letter to the county's Board of Supervisors. His letter said that LASD will cut all ties with Fulgent following "very concerning information" from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). "The DNA data obtained [by Fulgent] is not guaranteed to be safe and secure from foreign governments and 'will likely be shared with the [People's] Republic of China (PRC),'" the sheriff warned.

Villanueva wrote that on Nov. 24, the FBI's weapons of mass destruction coordinator got in touch with him and shared "very concerning information" about the testing company. Two days later, the sheriff attended a meeting at the bureau's L.A. County office that sought to "inform county leaders of the serious risks of allowing Fulgent to conduct COVID-19 testing of county employees."

"I was shocked to learn Fulgent had strong ties with BGI, WuXi [Biologics] and Huawei Technology – all of which are linked to the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and the State Council, and are under the control of the PRC. I was even more shocked to learn Fulgent made no attempt to disguise the fact [it] will use the genetic information obtained in future studies," the sheriff wrote. (Related: China gathering genetic data on its enemies to create race-specific bioweapons.)

Villanueva slammed county officials over Fulgent being chosen to conduct the testing in the first place. The company was awarded a no-bid contract for its work in the county.

"I am deeply concerned as to the vetting process – which either failed to discover this, or discovered it but chose to ignore it. A simple internet search would have uncovered all of the above facts," Villanueva said.

"Entering into a no-bid contract with Fulgent Genetics and allowing them to have the DNA data obtained from mandatory COVID-19 testing, for unknown purposes, has shattered all confidence my personnel have in this entire process under the [L.A. County's testing] mandate. Many personnel have long suspected this information was being used in an unnecessary manner due to a rushed mandate that we now know will have long-term unintended consequences that will not be fully known for some time."

Fulgent's action infringes on medical privacy

Fox News correspondent Bill Melugin said "multiple L.A. County employees" reached out to him in recent weeks. He pointed out that the employees had been "furious" about Fulgent's sharing of medical information. He added that the county's more than 100,000-strong workforce are mandated to register with Fulgent – as per the county's order announced in August 2021.

The correspondent wrote in another tweet: "I'm told some L.A. County departments have already started registering with Fulgent." He shared a letter sent by an anonymous employee working at the office of L.A. County District Attorney George Gascon. The said employee has already been threatened with disciplinary action for failing to register his information with Fulgent.

An October 2021 article published by Law Enforcement Today (LET) shed light on this mandate. County employees, including those under LASD, are mandated to upload both their medical records and personal information into a Fulgent app. However, an anonymous LASD deputy pointed out that privacy concerns surrounding Fulgent are "pushed under the rug."

"There is a California law that says your genetic information is confidential and personal to you and cannot be released without your consent. Yet we are being told, 'You shall give consent.' How is that legal? You can't tell me that I have to give consent to something that I don't," the deputy said.

"When you start reading through the fine print, our attorneys have discovered that not only are you granting [Fulgent] access to distribute genetic data however [it sees] fit, but it also gives them access to financial information [and] personal identifying information – including Social Security numbers."

Villanueva's Nov. 29 letter mentioned that his department reached out to Ben Kempner, the county's human resources liaison officer for Fulgent, in October 2021. LASD sought answers from him about the concerns mentioned in the LET article, but the department received no response.

The sheriff wrote: "How can one provide informed consent when participation is mandatory – under penalty of discipline?" (Related: LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva says he will not enforce COVID-19 vaccine mandate.)

He concluded his letter by saying that the LASD "will remove itself from working with Fulgent and continue with [its] own proprietary registration system." The sheriff's department "will [also] continue to work with properly vetted testing companies with no association to Fulgent," Villanueva said.

"I trust you will take steps to immediately assess and mitigate any further risk before any personnel are disciplined under the mandate for refusing to subject their information to the Fulgent system." has more articles about Fulgent and other China-linked firms stealing the personal and medical information of Americans.

Sources include: 1 2 3

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