A Facebook executive was released from a Brazilian jail after almost 24 hours after a disputed court order demanded data from the firm’s WhatsApp service related to a confidential drug-trafficking investigation.
An appeals court judge overseeing the case in Sergipe state overturned a lower court ruling to arrest Diego Dzodan, Facebook’s VP for Latin America, according to court officials.
Law enforcement representatives would not disclose more details about the nature of their request to WhatsApp, which was bought by Facebook in 2014, saying it would compromise an ongoing investigation.
“Diego’s detention was an extreme, disproportionate measure, and we are pleased to see the court in Sergipe issue an injunction ordering his release”, said a Facebook spokesperson.
The arrest came amid increasing pressure from governments to help them eavesdrop on users. Apple and law enforcement officials are currently in a standoff over the unlocking of an iPhone 5c belonging to a shooter in the San Bernadino attacks in 2015.
Court officials said the Brazilian judge resorted to the arrest after a fine of 1 million reais ($250,000) was issued to compel Facebook to assist investigators access WhatsApp messages related to the confidential investigation.
That move is likely to be impossible as WhatsApp started using end-to-end encryption in 2014 which prevents messages travelling across its network from being monitored, according to the America Civil Liberties Union.
Larry Banks is a keen follower of technology and finance. He has worked for a variety of online publications, writing about a diverse range of topics including mobile networks, patents, and Internet video delivery technologies.