Author Topic: Police nabbed Facebook's boss Brazil Because He Won't Give Up User Data  (Read 264 times)

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Offline mastercode

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Brazilian authorities arrested today Diego Dzodan, Facebook's vice president for Latin America, on charges of failing to follow a court order issued last year.

The arrest stems from a 2014 case from the province of Sergipe in north-east Brasil. A judge ordered Facebook to assist local police in the tracking down the suspects of an organized crime and drug-trafficking investigation.

The court order forced Facebook to reveal user details for some of the suspects. The catch was that the data actually belonged to WhatsApp, a company Facebook bought in 2014.

Facebook ignored the court order for four months
For the past four months, Facebook ignored the court order. Police fined Facebook with 50,000 Brazilian reais ($12,700) for each day it failed to comply with the police's request. During the past month, the daily fine rose to 1 million Brazilian reais ($250,000).

Seeing that the company has no intent to follow through, the judge that signed the court order, issued a warrant for Mr. Dzodan's arrest for failing to cooperate with a police investigation.

Facebook's reaction was quick, a company spokesperson saying that Facebook is "unable to provide information we do not have." They justified their answer first by saying that Facebook and WhatsApp are still different companies, and then by saying it was technically impossible to release the information the police was seeking.

The police may be asking for encrypted information
At this point, it is still unknown what the police was looking for. It could be simple user details, which Facebook and other social networks have eagerly provided police around the world in the past, but it could also be the content of private, probably encrypted, conversations, which Facebook probably doesn't have access to (if encrypted). The entire scandal has shades of the recent FBI-vs-Apple iPhone encryption spectacle.

Back in December 2015, another Brazilian judge banned WhatsApp across Brazil for two days for failing to cooperate in a different criminal investigation in Sao Paolo.

WhatsApp is Brazil's most used social network, and Brazilians, in general, are avid social media consumers, with most Brazilians having Facebook and Twitter accounts.

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