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Brazil court orders release of arrested Facebook exec

There's no evidence that he's part of the WhatsApp message fiasco.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
March 2, 2016
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William Volcov/Brazil Photo Press/LatinContent/Getty Images

Did you think Brazil was overreacting when it arrested a Facebook executive over the company's failure to hand over WhatsApp user data? So did a Brazilian court. A judge in Sergipe has ordered the release of Latin America VP Diego Dzodan just a day after he was detained, arguing that it was "unlawful coercion" -- in other words, authorities were trying to bully Facebook into complying. This isn't the first time that Brazil has crossed the line, either, as it previously ordered a temporary ban on WhatsApp that was overturned on appeal.

As it stands, arrests aren't going to get Brazil what it wants. Police have been demanding WhatsApp messages that Facebook says it not only doesn't keep, but are encrypted end-to-end. The firm wouldn't have much luck producing usable info even if the chat records fell into its lap. So long as it's telling the truth, investigators may have to simply accept that the evidence is unavailable, and that no amount of imprisonment is going to make it show up.

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