A court ruling issued by Rio de Janeiro Judge Daniela de Souza determined the suspension of smartphone messaging application WhatsApp in Brazil. The judge understands that Facebook, which runs the services offered by the messaging app, failed to comply with a court decision to intercept messages sent through the app. This is the third time WhatsApp is shut down in the country.
The request to block the access to the app was submitted by the Civil Police following investigations into the use of WhatsApp by criminals. Law enforcement agents wanted conversations to be intercepted, but Facebook argued it could not comply because messages are encrypted and therefore not accessible. Cryptography ensures conversations are kept secret.
“[Cryptography must not serve as] a shield for criminal practices arranged all too often through conversations, pictures and videos shared on the application,” the judge says in her ruling.
Notifications have been sent to EMBRATEL, the National Agency of Telecommunications, and all wireless phone operators ordering immediate compliance. Facebook will be fined a daily $15.25 thousand if it still fails to abide by the decision to intercept communications between users as requested by the Civil Police.
The court ruling also determines the introduction of police proceedings against Facebook's legal representation in Brazil for hindering investigations against criminal conspiracy, as outlined under by law.
WhatsApp's press office in Brazil declared it has not taken an official stance yet.
Wireless phone carriers started to block the access to the app early in the afternoon today (19), in compliance with the decision.
Translated by Fabrício Ferreira
Fonte: Agência Brasil.