Home of Fired Florida Data Scientist Raided by Cops

Rebekah Jones had created her own COVID-19 tracking dashboard
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 8, 2020 2:04 AM CST
Home of Fired Florida Data Scientist Raided by Cops
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis holds a press conference on Monday, Nov. 30, 2020, in Kissimmee, Fla., regarding education and COVID-19 at Boggy Creek Elementary School.   (Ricardo Ramirez Buxeda/Orlando Sentinel via AP)

The home of the Florida data scientist who created her own coronavirus tracking dashboard after, she says, the state fired her for refusing to manipulate data on its own site, was raided by state agents Monday. "At 8:30 am this morning, state police came into my house and took all my hardware and tech," Rebekah Jones tweeted alongside video of the incident as it began. "They pointed a gun in my face. They pointed guns at my kids." The Florida Department of Law Enforcement "began an investigation November 10, 2020, after receiving a complaint from the Department of Health (DOH) regarding unauthorized access to a Department of Health messaging system which is part of an emergency alert system, to be used for emergencies only," the agency tells the Tallahassee Democrat. The alleged breach involved an unauthorized message someone sent out.

"It's time to speak up before another 17,000 people are dead. You know this is wrong. You don't have to be a part of this. Be a hero. Speak out before it's too late," the unauthorized message read. Authorities are investigating whether Jones sent it, CNN reports. The FDLE statement says Jones refused to answer the door for 20 minutes, and hung up on agents when they called her phone. "After several attempts and verbal notifications that law enforcement officers were there to serve a legal search warrant, Ms. Jones eventually came to the door and allowed agents to enter," the statement continues. It says the investigation is active and that ultimately the state attorney will determine whether charges are warranted. Jones tells CNN she did not access the messaging system, and lost access to all her government accounts when she was fired in May. (Read more Florida stories.)

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