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  • 07.19.16

WhatsApp faces Brazil ban for third time in year

For the third time in less than a year, a Brazilian court has ordered the country’s wireless carriers to block access to WhatsApp, Reuters reports.

As in previous cases, the Facebook-owned messaging platform, which is wildly popular in Brazil as an alternative to expensive carrier talk-and-text service, was ordered to turn over data relating to an ongoing investigation, though details remain under seal. 

Another ban, issued in May after WhatsApp’s alleged noncompliance with an order linked to a drug trafficking investigation, was lifted on appeal. At the time, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg urged ordinary Brazilians to protest laws allowing restrictions on Internet services, Reuters reported at the time

WhatsApp uses end-to-end encryption, encoding messages between sender and recipient, meaning Facebook’s ability to access data is potentially limited.

In a statement emailed to Fast Company, the company decried the ban, saying:

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

SM