On December 7, Patricia Mazzei of the New York Times reported that police officers seized the computer, cellphone and hard drives of Rebekah Jones. Ms. Jones was fired from her job as virus data manager in May, after which she filed a whistle-blower complaint against the state. The seizure of her electronic evidence is related to unauthorized access to the Department of Health’s internal messaging system. Among the evidence that was taken from her home were hard drives which Ms. Jones states “that had evidence of corruption in the state.”
Ms. Jones worked as a geographical information systems (GIS) manager in the Florida Department of Health’s division of disease control and health protection. She was fired in May for insubordination, and alleges that the termination was for refusing to manipulate coronavirus data to show that counties in the state were ready to reopen after the state’s lockdown. “The Department of Health has denied the accusation” Mazzei writes.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement “said it served the warrant at Ms. Jones’s Tallahassee residence in connection to an investigation that began on Nov. 10, after Department of Health employees received an unauthorized message on their emergency alert system” explains Mazzei. The message apparently warned the department employees to “speak up before another 17,000 people are dead” the Tampa Bay Times reported of the incident. The message continues on to appeal to the employees that they know what is allegedly going on is wrong and that they should speak out before it is too late. A spokeswoman from the Department of Law Enforcement is quoted stating “[agents] believe someone at the residence on Centreville Court illegally accessed the system.” The investigation is ongoing and Ms. Jones has stated “I’m not a hacker. I wouldn’t know how to do that,” and “[it’] data science, not computer programming.”
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Digital Forensics/Cybersecurity/Information Technology