Privacy issues continue to take center stage today as Diego Jorge Dzodan, Vice President of Facebook, was arrested in São Paulo, Brazil.
In mid-February, Apple came into controversy when they refused an order to assist the FBI in accessing information stored on a phone belonging to the gunman involved in the San Bernardino shootings. More recently, a judge in New York ruled that the US government did not have the right to force Apple to unlock an iPhone involved in a Brooklyn drug case. Now, Facebook’s refusal to provide the details of messages that were sent over the application WhatsApp has caused a stir in Brazil.
Drug Trafficking Content Contained in Facebook VP’s Protected Messages
Federal Police are claiming that Dzodan failed to comply with a judicial order to provide info stored on Facebook’s servers. According to Globo, the information sought relates to messages sent by members of a drug gang over the messaging service WhatsApp. Dzodan is now required to give testimony relating to the company’s refusal to provide access to these messages.
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Brazil Issued WhatsApp Blackout in December
The arrest comes after a ruling back in December that lead to a judge blocking WhatsApp in Brazil following Facebook’s refusal to provide user information to police. WhatsApp is the vast nation’s most popular messaging service, and more than 100 million people were affected by the blackout of service, according to Facebook. The order was later overturned by a higher judge and the service was turned back on after only a few hours.
Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg described the blackout on his own Facebook page as a “sad day for Brazil,” expressing disappointment at a country that he said had previously “been an ally in creating an open internet.”
A daily fine of one million Brazilian real (about $250,000) was also imposed on Facebook for a period of 30 days.
FB refused to comment on the arrest of the company’s Vice President.
Today’s arrest simply shows the frustration that governments around the world are having with tech companies when it comes to privacy in the digital age and it’s not going to go away any time soon.