WhatsApp was blocked again in Brazil after Facebook denied a judge’s access to chat logs that would have provided authorities with valuable information about a criminal investigation.
Based on recent updates, WhatsApp messages are now encrypted to improve the safety and confidentiality of the users. Facebook announced that it could not break into a user’s account to read messages meaning that the company was unable to provide the court with the crime-related information.
Even if the judge blocked the access to WhatsApp, the Brazil’s Supreme Court has removed the ban after a few hours as a response to the magistrate’s hasty decision. But this is not the first time a judge was denied access to confidential information.
The application was previously blocked three times with the most recent one occurring earlier in May 2016. According to a spokesperson from WhatsApp, the company cannot provide information to which it does not have access.
All bans until now were supposed to be three-day long but the Supreme Court usually restored access to the application faster. It is also worth mentioning that phone companies were requested to ban WhatsApp immediately for an indefinite period, but the block was removed in several hours.
Another company’s spokesperson stressed that WhatsApp is pleased that people from Brazil have access to their accounts again. The company hopes that there will be no more bans from now on so that people will continue to benefit from its services.
The reason why the access to the application was blocked came from the fact that the judge was offended by WhatsApp’s response to the demands of the court. According to Judge Daniela Barbosa, the company responded the court via email using English instead of their native language.
On the other hand, the Brazil Supreme Court encourages open internet, despite the fact that recent updates brought the encryption of messages. In other words, it is hard for other judges to ban the access to WhatsApp completely whenever Facebook denies access to confidential information.
Facebook has been testing a new technology regarding the end-to-end encryption in the Messenger application not only in Brazil but throughout the world as well. There are more than 100 million WhatsApp users in Brazil, so blocking the application would have a massive effect on a lot of people.
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