May 04, 2016

    Outrage over 3-day WhatsApp blackout in Brazil


    IRATE Brazilians found themselves without the popular WhatsApp smartphone messaging application for the second time in six months on Monday, after a court blocked the service for 72 hours.

    A flurry of angry commentaries immediately broke out online after a small-town judge blocked WhatsApp nationwide because Facebook, its owner, failed to hand over information requested in a drug-trafficking investigation.

    The court order from Judge Marcel Montalvao in the north-eastern town of Lagarto shut down WhatsApp from 2pm.

    According to Brazilian media reports, drug traffickers targeted in the investigation had been using WhatsApp to discuss their business.

    It is the latest stand-off between the Brazilian authorities and Facebook, which has said it has no technical means for cooperating with such requests.

    Facebook's vice-president for Latin America, Diego Dzodan, was arrested in March over the same case. Police said they were holding him responsible for "repeated non-compliance with court orders".

    Another judge ordered his release the following day.

    WhatsApp was previously suspended in Brazil in December over another case.

    The blackout ended after about 12 hours when a higher court in Sao Paulo state threw out the two-day suspension.