Brazilian police arrested Facebook Vice President for Latin America

Pierluigi Paganini March 02, 2016

Brazilian authorities arrested the Facebook Vice President for Latin America accused of ignoring judicial order in drug trafficking investigation.

Law enforcement worldwide is increasing their pressure on IT companies for accessing users’ data, while we are discussing the San Bernardino case (aka Apple vs FBI) another news is shocking the industry, Facebook Vice President has been arrested in Brazil for refusing to share WhatsApp Data with the authorities.

Like Apple, also Facebook refused to provide access to WhatsApp data to law enforcement, for this reason, the Brazilian federal police has arrested the Facebook Latin America Vice President .

Facebook Vice President Diego Jorge Dzodan Latin America

Dzodan has been arrested for failing to comply with court orders to help Brazilian police in an investigation on a drug trafficking case.

The company denied three requests by federal police, in a first time Brazilian court imposed a daily fine on the US company of 50,000 reais (nearly $12,500), then a daily penalty of 1m reais ($1.396481), and finally ordered the arrest of the Facebook VP.

“In the face of repeated non-compliance, the judge Marcel Maia ordered the arrest of a representative of the company in Brazil, Mr Diego Dzodan for obstructing the police investigation,” a court spokesman wrote in an email sent to The Guardian.

The authorities requested the access to WhatsApp conversations of the suspects:

The Federal Police has fulfilled today (1/3) to a remand warrant issued by the Criminal Judge of the District of Lagarto / SE, to the detriment of the representative of the site and Facebook social networking service in South America . The arrest was represented by the Federal Police in Sergipe, because of repeated non-compliance with court orders, the application information in the Facebook website page.” states the official announcement issued by Brazilian Authorities (translated from Portuguese). 

WhatsApp is a Facebook subsidiary, the popular popular messaging app has over 100 Million users in Brazil.

“This information was required to produce evidence to be used in a research organized crime and drug trafficking, which is being processed in judicial secrecy that Criminal Court.

The representative is currently providing statements by the Superintendent of Federal Police in São Paulo, where it will remain stuck at the disposal of justice.”

Diego Dzodan was taken into custody at Garulhos airport on Tuesday, the executive is now under interrogation due to the alleged non-compliance with a court order.
WhatsApp expressed its disappointment in the following statement released by a spokesperson:

“We are disappointed that law enforcement took this extreme step. WhatsApp cannot provide information we do not have. We cooperated to the full extent of our ability in this case, and while we respect the important job of law enforcement, we strongly disagree with its decision.”

In December, the WhatsApp messaging service was temporarily blocked for 24 hours by a the Brazilian court because the company refused to hand over the content of communications between two suspects in a separated drug trafficking case.
On the occasion, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg also took position against the decision of the Brazilian court.

“This is a sad day for Brazil. Until today, Brazil has been an ally in creating an open internet. Brazilians have always been among the most passionate in sharing their voice online.” said Zuckerberg. “I am stunned that our efforts to protect people’s data would result in such an extreme decision by a single judge to punish every person in Brazil who uses WhatsApp. We hope the Brazilian courts quickly reverse course. If you’re Brazilian, please make your voice heard.”

In Brazil the debate over the citizen privacy has gathered pace in recent years. It is known that communications wiretapping and monitoring are widely used by the police in criminal cases under court approval.

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – Facebook Vice President, Brazilian court)

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