The former Florida Department of Health (DOH) employee, Rebekah Jones will stand trial on January 23, 2023, on cybersecurity-related charges. Jones, who worked as a data scientist at DOH Florida, was fired in May 2020. She was arrested on computer felony charges on January 17, 2021.
The COVID dashboard
It all started in 2020 when Jones raised her voice against the Governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis for manipulating COVID-19 data. She accused De Santis of asking her to change the numbers on the COVID dashboard. She claimed that it was to make the coronavirus response look better, during the lockdown period. Upon denying the request to make the changes, Jones said that she was fired from her position on May 18, 2020.
The accusations against DeSantis were found to be untrue as put in a 268-page report by the inspector general. Jones is now facing criminal charges for illegally sending a message to 1,750 people, downloading confidential information from the Department of Health’s computer system and saving it to her devices.
As per reports, Jones was accused of sending a message on an internal Department of Health multi-user messaging account. The message read, “It’s time to speak up before another 17,000 people are dead. You know this is wrong. You don’t have to be part of this. Be a hero. Speak out before it’s too late.” However, Jones denied having sent the message, with her attorney stating that the system was shared by many others who had access to the same username and password. Jones is out on bond after being arrested for a felony in January 2021.
Election eligibility case
Jones filed to run for Congress in September 2021 and will be running for a Northwest Florida seat in November’s general election, this year, against the U.S. lawyer, politician and Republican representative, Matthew Louis Gaetz.
A lower court opposed Jones from running for the Democratic nomination on the ground of not being registered as a Democrat for a full year when she lived in Maryland. However, on Monday, August 22, 2022, the judges ruled that she may run for the elections. Jones’s Twitter account was suspended last year on the grounds of buying followers amounting to platform manipulation.