By Oisin Sweeney •
Published: 08 Dec 2020 • 18:36
FLORIDA police have raided the home of the data scientist who developed the state’s Covid tracking system as part of an investigation into computer hacking.
Rebekah Jones built Florida’s official Covid database and subsequently accused the US Government of distorting figures to speed up the reopening of businesses. She is under investigation in connection to the hacking of government health systems in early November in which a message was sent calling on emergency workers to ‘speak up’ before 1000s more die from the virus.
Jones filmed the raid on her home and posted footage on social media. Police deny allegations that they pointed guns at her children, saying that ‘agents entered the home in accordance with normal protocols and seized several devices that will be forensically analysed’. These included her phone and laptop, and Jones posted a statement reading ‘Looks like I need a new computer and a hell of a good lawyer’.
An appeal for donations to help her legal costs raised $65,500 in just two hours, and she denies all charges. She says her computer skills are not strong enough to hack into a sophisticated government network, and that she has not had access to the Department of Health systems for over six months.
Since being fired from the state’s Covid team in May, the self-described ‘insubordinate’ scientist has been conducting her own data analysis on the virus which has been described by officials as ‘disruptive’.
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Oisin is an Irish writer based in Seville, the sunny capital of Andalucia. After starting his working life as a bookseller, he moved into journalism and cut his teeth as a reporter at one of Ireland's biggest news websites. Since joining Euro Weekly News in November, he has enjoyed covering the latest stories from Seville, Spain and further afield - with special interests in crime, cybersecurity, and European politics. Anyone who can pronounce his name first try gets a free cerveza...
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