Yesterday, we reported the arrest of David Dzodan, the vice president of Facebook for Latin America in Brazil. David was arrested over not sharing the details of WhatsApp conversation between Drug dealers caught in the country. This has heated up the debate of encryption and privacy once again. (read the full story on David’s arrest here).
However, David was later freed as Facebook invoked the writ of Habeas Corpus, which was reviewed and later granted by a local judge in the early hours of Wednesday. The police too, were bound by the law to arrest David, according Frederico Meinberg Ceroy, the president of the Brazilian Digital Law Institute.
“Requests for information in Brazil are made in a thoughtful way, usually only in cases of serious crimes such as pedophilia, drug trafficking, and organized crime,” Ceroy said. “Given this, you cannot talk about violation of privacy, abuse or excess.”
Facebook has been warned several times in the past too, over the issues of drug trafficking and various other crimes. However, WhatsApp too, has their hands tied as they do not store the conversations between users, but instead have them encrypted from end to end, and it remains with the users.
A similar case is taking place between the FBI and Apple in the US, as Apple has refused to create a backdoor for the iPhone which will help the FBI break into a terrorist’s iPhone. The police have stated that David was arrested because of “repeated failure to comply with court orders in investigations that are secret and involve organized crime and drug trafficking.”
WhatsApp was earlier banned in Brazil over controversies in December, but the ban was lifted after two days.
“We are disappointed with the extreme and disproportionate measure to have an executive of Facebook escorted to the police station due to a case involving WhatsApp, which operates separately from Facebook. Facebook has always been and will always be available to answer questions that Brazilian authorities can have,” Facebook said.