Facebook’s Vice-President for Latin America has been arrested by Brazilian police after failing to abide by the court order over a criminal investigation.
Diego Dzodan was detained at Garulhos airport on Tuesday. He failed to provide information of WhatsApp, a subsidiary of Facebook, regarding a drug trafficking-chain. He is now being interrogated over the case.
More than a month ago, court ordered WhatsApp to disclose the information of the drug-trafficking chain. However, the company failed to cooperate with the Federal police.
The court imposed a daily fine of 50,000 reais (£9,000) on the US Company, followed by a daily penalty of 1m reais (£180,000). After that Dzodan was taken under police custody.
“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,”said a court spokesman in a report by The Guardian.
Facebook, meanwhile, called it an “inappropriate” move by police. The company explains that WhatsApp does not have any staff in Brazil. It is operated independently. Dzodon should not be dragged down in the scene.
It also explained that WhatsApp does not keep the content. It is encrypted by users. And it is not like archiving information from Facebook. So unlike Facebook, the company cannot provide the information the authorities are requesting for.
However, information on Facebook can be provided if it is asked by Brazilian law enforcement officers and approved by the company’s lawyers.
“Facebook has always been and will be available to address any questions Brazilian authorities may have,” a company spokesman said in a report filed by BBC.
Around half of the population in Brazil use WhatsApp. Most number of downloads were recorded in last two years.
In December 2015, court ordered mobile companies to block WhatsApp’s services for 48 hours in Brazil. The order came after the messaging service failed to comply court orders. The ban was lifted after a strong public outcry and an intervention by Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg. He said it was “a sad day for Brazil”.