A Brazilian judge, Marcel Maia Montalvão of Sergipe state, has ordered wireless phone carriers to block access to WhatsApp for 72 hours on Monday.
This decision applies to the 5 main wireless operators in Brazil and affects more than 100 million WhatsApp’s users in the country.
What is the reason behind the ban?
The ban appears to be a result of a dispute over WhatsApp’s move to encrypt messages on its service.
The Judge ordered WhatsApp to hand over the records related to a drug investigation.
But the company argued that it doesn’t keep such records and could not decrypt the
But the company argued that it doesn’t keep such records and could not decrypt the messages even if it want to do so.
Shutting Down Of Whatsapp is Not a New Thing in Brazil
It was the second time that internet voice telephone service for smartphones and the text message has been the target of a blocking order.
The same judge ordered the imprisonment of a Brazil-based Facebook executive because he failed to comply with an attempted block of WhatsApp in March . The executive was jailed and subsequently freed.
In another case, Judge Montalvo ordered the service to be shut down for 48 hours, because it refused to take down the illicit pictures of minors.
But the ban lasted for only 12 hours after another judge ruled that it wasn’t reasonable that millions of users be affected by the inertia of the company.
WhatsApp’s competitor had a field day because of the ban
Within a few hours of shutting down of WhatsApp, its competitor, Telegram, trended on Twitter. Telegram also offers encryption to users, but if it receives a court order then it can access their communications.
iMessage also trended on Twitter as well as users urged each other to switch communication methods.
Hotspot Shield, a popular VPN service saw 82,000 new installations Brazil after the WhatsApp block was announced.
In Brazil, the rich and the poor, they all communicate via WhatsApp and it’s not easy to simply migrate everything to Telegram or iMessage from time to time.
Therefore, the Brazilian tribunals should avoid taking such decisions as it punishes the users who depend upon these messengers to communicate , run their business and more.