Health Police

Police Raid Former Florida Data Scientist’s Home

On Monday, Rebekah Jones’ home was raided by Florida law enforcement agents. She was fired in May from the state health department, after she helped create the Florida state COVID-19 dashboard, because she refused requests to manipulate data regarding Florida’s readiness to ease COVID restrictions.

Additionally, Jones accused Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and his administration of downplaying the pandemic and skewing state COVID data. State officials claimed that the reason for her termination was different – namely, that she was disobedient and didn’t consult with experts. Her house was raided because authorities are investigated whether she accessed a government messaging system without approval to message her former colleagues – a claim she denies.

Jones’ main concern is that her colleagues will get in trouble due to the raid. She said on Monday night, “On my phone is every communication I’ve ever had with someone who works at the state, who has come to me in confidence and told me things that could get them fired or in trouble like this…And I just want to say to all those people right now, if he doesn’t know already, DeSantis will know soon enough that you’ve been talking to me. So be careful.” The search warrant obtained for Monday was very broad, and thus, allowed officers to recover “any and all computer equipment that stores or transmits data”.

Jones also tweeted, “At 8:30 am this morning, state police came into my house and took all my hardware and tech…They were serving a warrant on my computer after DOH filed a complaint.” She also posted a video and claims that the agents pointed guns at her and her children. Since being fired, she has created her own COVID-19 dashboard (Florida COVID Action), and is involved in the Covid Monitor project, which focuses on COVID in schools.

Sources: CNN 12/8/20, NPR 12/8/20