Police raid the home of Florida coronavirus data whistleblower accused of hacking state system

Rebekah Jones was fired from her job at the state health department in May

Published: December 8, 2020 1:00pm

Updated: December 8, 2020 3:15pm

Florida police have raided the home of a former state Department of Health data analyst who had been running an alternative website to the state's coronavirus dashboard.

The former employee, Rebekah Jones, is accused of hacking into the state's email system and sending unauthorized messages to employees.

Jones, who was fired in May from her position with the health department, filed a whistleblower suit several months ago alleging state officials were manipulating coronavirus data. She denies any role in hacking into the state website.

Jones says that state police officers arrived at her home Monday at 8:30 a.m. and searched it while they held her at gun point for three hours.

She says they took with them her cell phone and several personal computers containing coronavirus data she has spent months piecing together.

"It is one thing to point a gun six inches away from my face and threaten me. It is another to point it at my 2-year-old’s face," said Jones in an interview with the Miami Herald on Monday night. 

"Hacking is not something I ever thought they would accuse me of because I have never displayed any capability of doing that. I've never taken any computer courses or anything like that. I do statistics in a software program designed basically to do all that stuff for you by clicking stuff," Jones also said.

An attorney for Jones said the state's claims against his client are "baseless" and "could be retaliation" for her whistleblower lawsuit. 

"This is what happens to scientists who do their job honestly. This is what happens to people who speak truth to power," Jones tweeted.

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