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Business

Facebook's Latin American Boss Arrested in Brazil

Diego Dzodan accused of ignoring judicial orders

ALEMANIA-FACEBOOK
2 years ago

RIO DE JANEIRO — Police in Sao Paulo have arrested Facebook’s most senior executive in Latin America in the latest clash between Brazilian authorities and the social media company over its refusal to provide private information about its users to law enforcement.

A Tuesday news release says that Facebook’s vice president for Latin America, Diego Dzodan, was arrested on an order from a judge in the northeastern state of Sergipe. Dzodan is accused of ignoring a judicial order in a secret investigation involving organized crime and drug trafficking.

The decision by Judge Marcel Montalvao follows the company’s refusal to surrender user information from the WhatsApp messaging service, an application Facebook bought in 2014.

“The decision to arrest an employee from another company is an extreme and unwarranted step.”
-Facebook

Facebook said in a written statement released Tuesday that the two companies operate independently “so the decision to arrest an employee from another company is an extreme and unwarranted step”.

WhatsApp said in its own statement that it had “cooperated as much as we could given the architecture of our service.” It said the company was “unable to provide information we do not have”.

A view of the entrance of the Provisional Detention Centre Pinheiros (CDP Pinheiros) in Sao Paulo, Brazil March 1, 2016. Federal police in Brazil apprehended the vice president of Facebook Inc for Latin America Diego Dzodan on Tuesday after the company failed to cooperate with judicial orders related to its WhatsApp messaging service in a drug-trafficking investigation. According to local media, Dzodan was transferred to CDP Pinheiros. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker

A view of the entrance of the Provisional Detention Centre Pinheiros in Sao Paulo, where the vice president of Facebook Inc for Latin America Diego Dzodan is being held.

A separate judicial order forced Brazil’s telecommunications companies in December to block WhatsApp over its refusal to cooperate with a police inquiry. The move snarled communications for many of its 100 million users in Brazil for around 12 hours. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the time said he was “stunned” by the “extreme decision”.

Brazilians are among the world’s most voracious users of social media such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter. Around half of the country’s 200 million people use WhatsApp.

BY BRUCE DOUGLAS

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