Brazilian Supreme Court suspends order blocking WhatsApp

Brazil's Supreme Court on Tuesday suspended a lower court's order blocking WhatsApp, the latest reversal in an ongoing spat between the messaging service and authorities over access to encrypted data, Brazilian media reported.

Ricardo Lewandowski, the president of the Supreme Court, said a lower court's nationwide block of the popular messaging service was "disproportionate" and violated Brazilians' right to freedom of expression and access to communication, the daily O Estado de Sao Paulo reported.

A court in Rio de Janeiro had earlier ordered Brazil's mobile phone providers to suspend support for the service and said it would fine the company 50,000 reales (15,625 dollars) a day until it provides authorities with copies of messages sent through its system they seek in a criminal investigation, GloboNews reported.

WhatsApp, which is owned by social media giant Facebook, has repeatedly said it does not archive or copy user messages. Earlier this year, the company introduced end-to-end encryption on all of its services, making it impossible for anyone but users themselves to access their communications.

The order was the third time a Brazilian judge had shut down WhatsApp in similar disputes, and the third time such an order had been reversed by a higher court.

In December, a judge ordered a 48-hour suspension of the service, which was reversed by a higher court after 14 hours. In May, the service was ordered off-line for three days, then was back online after 24 hours.

In March, a Facebook executive was arrested overnight on charges of obstructing a criminal investigation.

Used by more than 100 million Brazilians, WhatsApp is by far Brazil's most popular messaging service and among its largest markets.

In depth coverage

Brazil again blocks WhatsApp in data dispute

A Brazil court blocked WhatsApp across the country Tuesday for the third time in a year in an ongoing spat between the messaging service and authorities over user records WhatsApp says it does not have, according to media reports.

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Last update: Tue, 19/07/2016 - 20:49
Last update: Wed, 20/07/2016 - 01:15
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