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STATES CHRONICLE – Brazilian police officials are making a habit of taking Facebook to court. Federal police have once more urged WhatsApp to allow them access.
WhatsApp and Facebook Have Seen Blocks, Fines, and Arrests
The ongoing investigation against several high profile international drug traders has hit a snag again, according to Brazilian police. Suspected and involved parties appear to be using WhatsApp, which is currently owned by Facebook.
In less than 12 months, Brazil has asked, legally and in court, WhatsApp and implicitly Facebook to present them with the data pertinent to the suspects. Facebook has replied every time by stating that the encryption program that WhatsApp is using is preventing anyone else from reading the messages, which also includes them.
Brazil remained skeptical, it seems, and continued to demand what could be seen as a severe violation of privacy and human rights.
Previously, In December 2015, WhatsApp received a 48-hour block in the country for refusing to hand over the data which the service repeatedly said they could not access. The Brazilian courts tried again in May 2016, this time, using a 72-hour block.
Brazilian federal police even arrested Facebook’s VP as he was considered a suspect. The company’s refusal to comply with the Brazilian authorities was declared as aiding the suspects in their ongoing drug trade investigation. As such, Facebook’s Vice President was arrested in an attempt to make Facebook stand down and hand over the data.
Nevertheless, the social media service refused to be bullied into compliance and did not touch the current encryption on WhatsApp.
Presently, the Brazilian courts are trying a different persuasion approach. As such, Facebook’s banking in Brazil has been frozen. Brazilian authorities have stated that the $19.5 million frozen assets in Facebook’s bank accounts will equivalate for the total number of fines the company has been issued since first going to court.
WhatsApp has in return stated that they will continue to refuse to compromise one billion users’ security. The messaging service believes that their current encryption has been a safe and solid development. Making any modifications to it will increase the risk of hackers breaching the app and obtaining personal data and conversation.
Even though Brazilian authorities have been in an ongoing battle against international drug traders, their constant actions against Facebook and WhatsApp are seen on an international level as bullying. Similar demands are made by authorities worldwide, so perhaps an international decision should be taken.
Image Courtesy of Pixabay.