A senior Facebook executive Diego Dzodan was detained in Sao Paulo, Brazil, yesterday after he refused to grant police access to data from WhatsApp, an instant messaging service that is owned by Facebook saying it was a decisive to a criminal investigation.
AFP reports that the social media exec was arrested in his home and is being held awaiting questioning from the authorities.
Facebook said in a statement that its disappointed with the extreme and disproportionate measure of having a Facebook executive escorted to a police station in connection with a case involving WhatsApp, which operates separately from Facebook. Facebook has always been and will be available to address any questions Brazilian authorities may have.”
The company added saying: “Facebook has always been and will be available to address any questions Brazilian authorities may have.”
Washington Post reports that Diego Dzodan, Facebook’s vice president for Latin America, was taken into custody on his way into work following a judicial order from a judge, said Matt Steinfeld, WhatsApp spokesman.
According to WhatsApp Inc., they reported saying, they don’t keep messages that are delivered to the recipients. “No one, not even WhatsApp, can intercept people’s messages.” They added.
The dispute can be traced back four months when the Brazilian police requested for a wiretap after officers investigating that a drug trafficking gang was using WhatsApp to discuss business. Brazilian media reported at the time.
After Facebook refused to comply with the request for information, authorities imposed daily fines two months ago that started at about $12,500. A month ago, the fines rose to about $250,000 a day.
The case reflects the growing conflict between technology firms, intelligence services, governments and so much more around the world over access to customer data. The disagreement in Brazil somehow reflects to the disagreement between the tech giant Apple Inc. and the intelligence agency FBI in the United States.
Where the company (Apple Inc.) is refusing to give the government access to data from an iPhone belonging to one of the terrorists that was involved in the San Bernardino, California, shootings which happened last year on December 12. A similar case happened to Whatsapp Inc. on December 17, 2015, where Brazil temporarily shut down access to WhatsApp for 48 hours for failure to comply with a July court order in a criminal case.
Both WhatsApp and Facebook are hugely popular in Brazil, where WhatsApp has got more than 100 million users.
Earlier this week when WhatsApp Inc. was celebrating its seventh birthday, they planned on putting an even greater emphasis on security features in the coming months. Although U.S. law enforcement says it supports encryption, it has expressed frustration with its inability to gain access to user data in criminal and terrorism cases.