Brazilian judge orders indefinite block of WhatsApp, affecting millions of users

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A Brazilian judge on Tuesday ordered the country's five cellular carriers to block access to Facebook's WhatsApp indefinitely, disrupting access to the popular chat/VoIP app for tens of millions of people.




The reason for the order is being kept secret, other than the fact that the court is demanding access to unspecified data for an investigation, according to Reuters. Brazil's Globo added that Facebook is being required to pay R$50,000 ($15,273) per day while it's in violation.

The block is the third leveled against WhatsApp in Brazil, which has refused to hand over conversation data in at least two legal investigations, both of them involving drug trafficking. Today's court action is the most severe however, given the indefinite timeframe. In March Facebook's Latin American VP, Diego Dzodan, was briefly arrested.

WhatsApp is believed to have 100 million or more users in Brazil, many of whom use it to circumvent the steep fees local cellular carriers charge.

In its defense, WhatsApp has insisted that it can't actually provide requested data, since it doesn't save users' messages, which are encrypted anyway.

Tech companies have run into mounting conflicts with government officials over encryption. While companies like Apple have argued that encryption is important on moral, profit, and security grounds, people in law enforcement and spy agencies have complained about communications "going dark," and warned that criminals like kidnappers and terrorists can use it to hide their actions.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 22
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,760member
    Facebook should simply leave Brazil and tell them to get stuffed.
    ceek74magman1979jbdragonlatifbpjony0lostkiwimoreck
  • Reply 2 of 22
    ceek74ceek74 Posts: 317member
    This won't end well.
  • Reply 3 of 22
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    Brazillian judge with little to no understanding of physics or cryptography, orders Facebook executive to jump over the moon, generously allowing a 10m runup.  Orders daily fine of $1 M for each day of non-compliance.
    P-DogNCDeelronjbdragonlatifbpmoreck
  • Reply 4 of 22
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    ceek74 said:
    This won't end well.
    It will probably end when word reaches the Judges ear that professors of mathematics at Brazillian universities have composed an open letter pointing out he's an idiot.
    jbdragon
  • Reply 5 of 22
    P-DogNCP-DogNC Posts: 21member
    A Brazilian judge on Tuesday ordered the country's five cellular carriers to block access to Facebook's WhatsApp indefinitely, disrupting access to the popular chat/VoIP app for tens of millions of people.

    The block is the third leveled against WhatsApp in Brazil, which has refused to hand over conversation data in at least two legal investigations, both of them involving drug trafficking. Today's court action is the most severe however, given the indefinite timeframe. Tech companies have run into mounting conflicts with government officials over encryption. While companies like Apple have argued that encryption is important on moral, profit, and security grounds, people in law enforcement and spy agencies have complained about communications "going dark," and warned that criminals like kidnappers and terrorists can use it to hide their actions.
    I think that judge needs to go after local municipalities and regional government authorities for not building the minimum number of sewage treatment plants to keep their population and visiting Olympic swimmers and boaters healthy during the Olympics. Brazil committed to building over a  half dozen such facilities as a requirement for receiving the Olympics seven years ago and they only built one. That's a much greater immediate need to the population of São Paulo than shutting down WhatsApp. 
    Deelronjbdragonlostkiwimoreck
  • Reply 6 of 22
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,294member
    It may come to this in the United States too. The people that crave and wield power are the same the world over. This technology threatens their grip on power and control over the populace and they can’t handle that possibility. In the U.S. they are trying to scare the population by saying this technology will make us vulnerable if they don’t have the means to crack it. If this happens here it will be because we caved in to fear and allowed the powerful to maintain control. In a totalitarian or dictator regime it’s a lot easier, just do it and to hell with what the people think. The mobile and encryption revolution has put the power back within reach of the people and our traditional overlords are not pleased, not one bit.
    jbdragonlostkiwi
  • Reply 7 of 22
    spacekidspacekid Posts: 158member
    I thought the previous 2 were overruled by another judge. Why won't that happen here?
    jbdragonlostkiwi
  • Reply 8 of 22
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    thanks, obama!!
  • Reply 9 of 22
    Leaving aside some uneducated remarks (almost as dumb as the lack of technological understanding from the judge, which is also world-spread), this instance will run its course like the others had in the past. By this time, tomorrow, another judge (also with no better understanding of technology) will overrule the ban, for some reason or another. With the political and financial problems we have here, and also counting the Olympic games (which over half the population are NOT supportive---interestingly, the more educated and affluent half), another day without WhatsApp is hardly newsworthy anymore... Our judges, like our general population, are not broadly educated aside their area of specialty (if even that). Just like the rest of the world, by what can be read in this very same site in its articles about US Government for example, and also by people who leaves snide comments on the forum, but would be hard pressed to point Brazil (or many other countries, for that matter) on a map!
    lostkiwi
  • Reply 10 of 22
    tommikeletommikele Posts: 244member
    Love the comments! Almost none of seem to be cognizant of the fact Brazil is not America. There is no bill of rights or constitutional guarantees like we have (despite how they are ignored at times). You are applying the standards we have to a foreign country. Brazilian law enforcement and government couldn't give a rat's rear end about any of those things. They want the data and they will shut you down and pound you with fines until they get it. A Judge in Brazil is not what a Judge is in America. They are, for the most part, an extension of the prosecutors and police. If you want to make money in their country, you will play by their rules unless some free trade agreement protects you ... don't count on it.
    edited July 2016 lostkiwi
  • Reply 11 of 22
    tommikeletommikele Posts: 244member
    thanks, obama!!
    Thanks Obama? That is the most stupid, ignorant comment in this thread. Childish and moronic. Go ahead and try to explain how Obama has anything to do with this. I dare you to do that and make any sense whatsoever.
  • Reply 12 of 22
    That's a much greater immediate need to the population of São Paulo than shutting down WhatsApp. 
    There's a difference between Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Just saying.
  • Reply 13 of 22
    Supreme Court reverted the decision, saying total block reach is 'unproportional'...this is temporary activation while assigned STF ministry is on recess. But I can see it working now. As much as government presses people's freedom with bad regulation they will seek out other ways, so they go to Telegram and several other services...they tax money transfers again and this might be push needed to crypto currencies.
  • Reply 14 of 22
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 1,825member
    cnocbui said:
    Brazillian judge with little to no understanding of physics or cryptography, orders Facebook executive to jump over the moon, generously allowing a 10m runup.  Orders daily fine of $1 M for each day of non-compliance.
    The simple solution is just hand over to the judge what he's asking for, those Messages!!! The fact that they are encrypted doesn't matter. They can try and decrypt them, but it's not Facebooks problem at that point and they have no keys. Hey, Judge, have good luck with that.
    latifbplostkiwi
  • Reply 15 of 22
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,524member
    tommikele said:
    Love the comments! Almost none of seem to be cognizant of the fact Brazil is not America. There is no bill of rights or constitutional guarantees like we have (despite how they are ignored at times). You are applying the standards we have to a foreign country. 
    Huh?

    http://www.planalto.gov.br/ccivil_03/Constituicao/Constituicao.htm


    One of the more pertinent bits:
    XII - é inviolável o sigilo da correspondência e das comunicações telegráficas, de dados e das comunicações telefônicas, salvo, no último caso, por ordem judicial, nas hipóteses e na forma que a lei estabelecer para fins de investigação criminal ou instrução processual penal;   
    English translated by google, (so not perfect):
    XII - is inviolable secrecy of correspondence and of telegraphic, data and telephone communications, except in the latter case, by court order, in the cases and in the manner provided by law for purposes of criminal investigation or criminal procedural;  
    edited July 2016
  • Reply 16 of 22
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 1,825member
    thanks, obama!!
    I don't think you can thank him for this one!!!
  • Reply 17 of 22
    YvLyYvLy Posts: 64member
    thanks, obama!!
    He?
  • Reply 18 of 22
    latifbplatifbp Posts: 544member
    cnocbui said:
    Brazillian judge with little to no understanding of physics or cryptography, orders Facebook executive to jump over the moon, generously allowing a 10m runup.  Orders daily fine of $1 M for each day of non-compliance.
    What if this was a Euro judge?
  • Reply 19 of 22
    mac_dogmac_dog Posts: 566member
    It's all bullshit and smokescreen. This is why there is a ban:

    "...many of whom use it to circumvent the steep fees local cellular carriers charge."
  • Reply 20 of 22
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    latifbp said:
    cnocbui said:
    Brazillian judge with little to no understanding of physics or cryptography, orders Facebook executive to jump over the moon, generously allowing a 10m runup.  Orders daily fine of $1 M for each day of non-compliance.
    What if this was a Euro judge?
    If that were the case, the fine would be in € and the judge would be just as ignorant of the technical issue involved.  Personally I don't see it happening in most European countries.  By the way, have you ever been to Europe or traveled outside of the USA?
    singularity
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