WhatsApp is a widely popular messaging app, but just recently, a Brazilian judge orders the shutdown of the service. The app is being used by over 100-million people and the country’s five telecommunications companies suspends the service for 72-hours, which is from 1 PM (ET) on the 2nd of May. The order was issued by a lower court judge in Sergipe state in the northeast. The aforementioned judge wants the company behind the famous messaging app to share the messages that are related to a case against drug traffickers with the country’s federal police, which is something that the company says it cannot do.
WhatsApp Services Gets Suspended in Brazil Over Order to Reveal Messages That May Lead to Drug Traffickers
The telecom operators of Brazil took the WhatsApp service offline and they will face a fine that is equivalent to $180,000 a day should they fail to comply, as per the newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo. For many Brazilians, the suspension of the service is a major inconvenience, especially those who rely on the app’s services to relay information between families, schools, and even with their doctors.
The WhatsApp app is the most-used messaging application in the country. However, the court ordered suspension is also symbolic of the immense power of even lower court judges in Brazil. It features that of their legal system, in which has had considerable political importance over the recent months.
Facebook’s vice-president for Latin America Diego Dzodan was ordered to be arrested by Judge Marcel Montalvao in March over the act of failing to comply with a subpoena that is apparently related to the same case. The Facebook vice-president was arrested by the country’s federal police, and was held in custody for 24-hours until the arrest order was overturned in a court of appeals.
This was not the first time wherein the WhatsApp services were ordered to be suspended within Brazil. Back in December of last year, the app’s services was ordered to become offline for 48-hours by a lower court judge from the Sao Paulo state. The judge wanted to compel the company behind the app to share information that is relevant to an unrelated criminal case being tried in his court. After 13-hours, the service went back online, however the response of many Brazilians on social media suggested that those hours felt more like years. This newer Sergipe case appears to lean towards the issue of end-to-end encryption.