WhatsApp helps the Australian authorities in their investigation to trace a Belgian tourist who has been missing since May. The 18-year-old tourist disappeared on his way back to his residence on May 31, after sending several messages using WhatsApp.

IT experts indicate that WhatsApp won’t be able to access to the same message content, but only to the metadata. This is because the WhatsApp messaging service is encrypted, so it is difficult to access to what was included in the messages. The only thing we can use is data about the conversations that has taken place, such as knowing whom you were contact with, and also their location if you’ve shared it with someone. Note that his device was working during that time.

The young tourist’s father traveled to Australia to help look for his son, and asked WhatsApp officials to do their best to locate him. He told reporters that he understood and respected the privacy policies of the app but he would like them to understand that it was about a person who might be in grave danger.

Officials at WhatsApp said they were helping the authorities to provide the information they requested, explaining that they were fully sympathetic to the young man’s family, that they understood the importance of the authorities’ investigations, and that they were cooperating with them in accordance with the app’s laws and terms of service.