Facebook VP released from jail following WhatsApp spat

WhatsApp

A Brazilian judge has ordered the release of Facebook VP for Latin America Diego Dzodan.

The Facebook executive was held for nearly 24 hours following a dispute involving WhatsApp.

Police in São Paulo questioned Dzodan on Tuesday, and he remained in jail overnight.

A court had ordered Facebook to provide data from WhatsApp, a messaging app it owns, in connection with a criminal investigation into drug trafficking.

According to the authorities, the judge issued an order three times and started fining Facebook 50,000 reals ($12,600) daily for noncompliance two months ago.

Last month, the daily WhatsApp fine increased to 1 million reals ($253,000) per day.

When Facebook refused to hand over the information, a warrant was issued for Dzodan on February 7.

Judge Ruy Pinheiro of Sergipe overturned the lower court’s arrest warrant on Wednesday.

In a statement, the judge ruled that Dzodan could not be arrested because he is not being investigated in the case.

The judge called the arrest an action of “illegal coercion”

Dzodan was expected to be released Wednesday morning.

WhatsApp says it’s impossible to hand over the requested data because of the strength of its encryption, and because the data is kept only on a person’s device after it is delivered.