Rebekah Jones Biography — Wiki
Rebekah Jones is a Florida COVID-19 data scientist who was fired for refusing to falsify data and has now tested positive for the virus after turning herself in the police. Jones, was released Monday on $2,500 bail after being charged with hacking into the state’s emergency alert health system and allegedly downloading the contact information of 19,000 Floridians.
Jones is also charged with using the system to illegally send a mass message to close to 2,000 state employees, calling on them to ‘speak up’.
Rebekah Jones, a data scientist who helped build the Florida Department of Health’s virus dashboard before she was fired for insubordination, was arrested and charged with accessing a state computer system and downloading a file without authorization. https://t.co/9vGW7aBHCw
— The New York Times (@nytimes) January 18, 2021
Rebekah Jones Age
Rebekah Jones is 31 years old.
Rebekah Jones: What is the case?
Rebekah Jones said she was prompted by Florida officials to make the state’s coronavirus figures look better than they actually were – which she says she refused to do – leading to her firing. The charges against her are retribution for refusing to falsify the data, she claims.
She told reporters on Monday morning as she left Leon County Detention Facility following her initial appearance hearing in Tallahassee that she had tested positive for COVID-19 after handing herself into authorities on Sunday.
‘I’ve tested COVID positive, you guys, so…’ Jones said as she attempted to get reporters to move back.
‘Believe me, I do,’ Jones added when questioned whether she understood the irony of testing positive for COVID-19. ‘Fortunately, I made it this far without catching it.’
She wore a mask and a heavy jacket and was flanked her attorney as she left but made no other comment, MyNews13 reported.
Rebekah Jones now lives in Maryland, but drove to Florida to turn herself in. Her attorney said she drove to Tallahassee over the weekend to face her arrest warrant, but that it took longer than expected as she felt ill.
Dobson said he had advised her to drive after Florida officials threatened to arrest her in D.C. and then extradite her to the state.
He told CBS News her voluntary surrender ‘saved the entire Eastern seaboard from being exposed to infection.’ She was tested as she was being booked in Leon County jail on Sunday and learned on Monday that it was positive.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) has charged Jones with one count of offenses against users of computers, computer systems, computer networks and electronic devices.
Ahead of her court appearance Monday, the state had asked that Jones, who now lives in Maryland, be banned from computer and internet access. However, the court granted her access to cell phones, computers and the internet.
The judge also denied a request for Jones to be forced to wear a GPS tracker.
She was ordered not to access any state computer systems or having any contact ‘with any of the people whose information was downloaded’. Jones has been under investigation since early November after someone illegally accessed the state’s emergency alert health system, warning employees ‘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,’ the message continued.
On November 10, the FDLE received a complaint about the hack, which the arrest warrant claimed forced about 30 state employees to stop work.
Agents determined the message was sent from the home where Jones lived in Tallahassee after tracking down the IP address.
The agency obtained a search warrant and evidence received from the home on December 7 shows that Jones allegedly illegally accessed the system and sent a message to about 1,750 people, as well as downloaded confidential data and saved it to her devices.
Yet, Jones claims the arrest was part of a plan to silence her after she was fired in May for refusing to falsify data on the state’s coronavirus outbreak to make it look better than it was.
She sued the state in December, following the raid on her home address, calling the search of her home a ‘sham.’
In the suit, she claimed that FDLE officials violated her First Amendment rights, deprived her of due process and unlawfully seized her computers, cell phone and storage media during a search of her home.
It also claims that IP addresses are commonly ‘spoofed’ and that she is innocent of all the charges.
After the search warrant was executed, Jones posted a 31-second video of officers entering her home, claiming the ‘Gestapo’ were sent after her by Gov. Ron DeSantis and accusing cops of pointing guns at her and her kids.
The department later released more than 20 minutes of bodycam video that shows she refused to respond to phone calls and knocks on her door.
Jones has had several run-ins with law enforcement over personal issues, including a pending misdemeanor charge from 2019 where she is accused of cyberstalking her former boyfriend, but she gained international attention by disputing Florida’s COVID-19 statistics in May.
She has been highly critical of Republican Gov. DeSantis on social media and questioned the validity of the state’s COVID data, claiming that officials attempted to downplay the outbreak to allow for reopenings.
DeSantis has argued that Jones was fired in May for insubordination and that he has no link to the current FDLE investigation.
In a tweet on Saturday, Jones revealed that she was heading to Florida to turn herself in, despite her claims of innocence.
She wrote that ‘to protect my family from continued police violence, and to show that I’m ready to fight whatever they throw at me, I’m turning myself into police in Florida Sunday night.
‘The Governor will not win his war on science and free speech. He will not silence those who speak out,’ she added.
Jones tweeted on Sunday morning that ‘insurrectionists planning attacks across the country this week and Florida is jailing scientists for the crimes of knowing and speaking.’
She also tweeted that she is ‘censored by the state of Florida until further notice.’
Jones has not returned to social media since her release.