Eight months in the past, Deborah Birx of the White Home Coronavirus Process Power praised Florida’s COVID-19 dashboard for instance of “the kind of knowledge and power we need to put into the hands of the American people.” That dashboard was constructed by Rebekah Jones.

However in Might, Jones was fired by the Florida Division of Well being for reportedly refusing to manipulate that data to justify reopening the state — and now, Florida state police have raided her dwelling and brought the gear she was utilizing to keep up a brand new, impartial COVID-19 tracker of her personal.

Jones posted a series of tweets concerning the incident, together with a video of police getting into — with weapons drawn.

Florida’s Division of Legislation Enforcement (FDLE) confirmed to the Miami Herald and the Tallahassee Democrat that police had a search warrant and had seized her gear. Right here’s the division’s full assertion as supplied to The Verge:

“This morning FDLE served a search warrant at a residence on Centerville Courtroom in Tallahassee, the house of Rebekah Jones. FDLE started an investigation November 10, 2020 after receiving a criticism from the Division of Well being concerning unauthorized entry to a Division of Well being messaging system which is a part of an emergency alert system, for use for emergencies solely. Brokers consider somebody on the residence on Centerville Courtroom illegally accessed the system.

When brokers arrived, they knocked on the door and known as Ms. Jones in an try to attenuate disruption to the household. Ms. Jones refused to return to the door for 20 minutes and hung-up on brokers. After a number of makes an attempt and verbal notifications that legislation enforcement officers have been there to serve a authorized search warrant, Ms. Jones finally got here to the door and allowed brokers to enter. Ms. Jones household was upstairs when brokers made entry into the house.

Because the Tampa Bay Instances reported last month, somebody mysteriously despatched an unauthorized message to the state’s emergency public well being and medical coordination crew, studying “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.”

Based on an affidavit supplied to us by the FDLE, legislation enforcement believes that Jones or somebody at her handle was the one who despatched it. We’re not publishing the affidavit as a result of it incorporates plenty of personally figuring out data, however the FDLE claims the message was despatched from a Comcast IP related together with her dwelling handle and e mail handle, and the affidavit asks permission to grab and search all pc gear police may discover.

Whereas there was a suggestion final month that the system might need been hacked, it apparently didn’t have significantly robust safety anyhow: the affidavit says all the registered customers shared the identical username and password.

Jones didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark, however on Twitter she says she’s getting a brand new pc and can proceed to replace her new web site.

Extra reporting by Mitchell Clark





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