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[UPDATE : Ban Lifted] WhatsApp gets banned in Brazil, again!

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UPDATE

In an update sent to us, we have been told that The Brazilian Supreme Court as reversed the order. Whatsapp is back in business (or should be within a few hours)

PREVIOUSLY

In what appears to be the fourth time in history, Facebook-owned WhatsApp has been blocked in Brazil, yet again. The war between the social giant and the Brazilian government is taking on heat for a while. The previous ban we saw took place just a couple of months ago.

The issue largely revolves around WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption, due to which, Facebook is unable to provide chat logs related to a criminal investigation, reports Globo. The company had introduced this sort of policy to ensure user security and privacy and thus they do not store any logs or access users’ messages.

Brazilian courts required these logs as evidence but the company is unable to provide them. This resulted in a heated battle between the two entities, damaging the latter more than the former.

WhatsApp is used by over 100 million users in Brazil. Blocking this service in the country largely affects the platforms economy. Not just this, it also hugely impacts the country’s communication. Some Brazilian users, though, are taking to using a VPN service and other circumvention techniques that are outlined here to gain access to the IM service.

In recent months, people from all across Brazil have rejected judicial blocks of services like WhatsApp.

a WhatsApp spokesperson said.

Indiscriminate steps like these threaten people’s ability to communicate, to run their businesses, and to live their lives. As we’ve said in the past, we cannot share information we don’t have access to. We hope to see this block lifted as soon as possible.

Previous blocks on the service had lasted for no more than 72 hours. Access was always restored much quicker each time. This time, however, the court has ordered telephone companies to block WhatsApp indefinitely. A strange fact to note is that other services that feature end-to-end encryption are still available in the Brazilian Republic.

What makes things worse is that the judge in this case took offense at the way WhatsApp responded to the court’s demands. Apparently, the company was treating Brazil like a “banana republic.” Judge Daniela Barbosa also criticized WhatsApp for responding to the court via email and in English, “as if this was the official language of this country,” reads the report by Globo.

We’ve mailed Whatsapp for a comment and will update the story once we receive any.


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