Brazil Phone Carriers Ordered to Block Whatsapp for 72 Hours
May 04, 2016 02:46 AM EDT
A Brazilian judge issued an order that demanded wireless phone carriers in the country to block access to instant messaging app Whatsapp for 72 hours. The order, announced on Monday, was released because the app, owned by social media giant Facebook, failed to turn over data to help criminal investigation.
The court order was issued by Judge Marcel Montalvao of the northeastern state of Sergipe. The judge demanded phone carrier companies to block the messaging app Whatsapp for as long as 72 hours. The companies complied with the order and starting about 2 p.m the app ceased to function, as reported by CNN.
The blocking was issued by the court as a response to Whatsapp's refusal to turn over data when inquired by the court. Previously, the court has asked the app to hand over personal data to help an ongoing drug trafficking investigation.
The decision upset the service's users across Brazil. The country has more than 100 million Whatsapp users, who regularly use the messaging and free-calling service.
Not only users, Whatsapp has also expressed its disappointment on the court's decision, especially because the company felt like it had tried to help the investigators. In a statement, the messaging app company said, "After cooperating to the full extent of our ability with the local courts, we are disappointed a judge in Sergipe decided yet again to order the block of Whatsapp in Brazil."
Furthermore, Whatsapp criticized the move as being unfair to its 100 million users in the country. "This decision punishes more than 100 million Brazilians who rely on our service to communicate, run their businesses, and more, in order to force us to turn over information we repeatedly said we don't have," the company stated, as quoted by Bloomberg.
This is not the first time Whatsapp has been subject to blocking order by a Brazilian court. According to The Guardian, a São Paulo state judge issued the similar blocking order on December 15. The order was made after Facebook failed to comply with an order. However, although the order initially stated that the app should be blocked for 48 hours, another court interrupted that suspension shortly afterward.
In March, judge Marcel Montalvao of Sergipe also ordered to imprison a Facebook executive based in Brazil for failing to comply with an attempted block of Whatsapp. He was freed after being jailed for a while.
Whatsapp is facing another blocking order for a Brazilian court, after the court claimed that the messaging app refused to help an ongoing criminal investigation. The company, along with its millions of users in the country, was disappointed with the court's decision.