Free Florida COVID-19 data analyst Rebekah Jones

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Rebekah Jones is a former employee of the Florida Department of Health. In her role as a data scientist, she curated and analyzed COVID-19 data, while also helping to manage the state's COVID-19 dashboard.

Jones publicly alleged she and others were pressured to manipulate the data for better appearances, thereby helping allow the state to reopen businesses that were closed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. She was subsequently terminated from her role by the Department of Health for "insubordination."

Following her termination, Jones's home was raided by armed Florida police, who seized her computer equipment and other electronic devices. On January 13, 2021, it was reported that a motion to return Jones's seized property was neither granted nor denied by a county judge.

As of January 17, 2021, there is an outstanding warrant for Jones's arrest. She has indicated that she will surrender to authorities, potentially facing a heretofore undisclosed felony charge.

In a free and open society, it is absolutely essential that analysts and scientists be allowed to conduct their work without undue pressure and fear of censorship or legal repercussions. They must be allowed to freely share public information and participate in a scientific discourse, especially at a time when human lives are imminently threatened by a global pandemic.

We hereby call upon Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, the Florida Attorney General's Office, Florida state prosecutors, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to take these actions:

  • Drop charge(s) against Rebekah Jones.
  • Return all personal computers and other property taken from her residence.
  • Establish, disclose, and enforce policies that promote a truly unrestricted exchange of data with the public by those who curate and analyze it, without any undue interference.
  • Make all source data sets (as validated by data analysts, engineers, and scientists using generally accepted best practices) available to the public, redacting only that which is strictly necessary according to generally accepted best practices (such as removing the minimal amount of personally identifiable information necessary to protect the privacy of individual people) and publicly disclosing all such redactions.
  • Vigorously protect all whistleblowers acting in good faith from all forms of harassment and retribution, whether systematic or otherwise.