Brazil Shut Down Whatsapp For 72 Hours

The relationship between Brazil and Whatsapp as of late has not been great. A few months back the Latin American president of Facebook was arrested in Sao Paulo over the fact Whatsapp cannot provide messages send by a drug trafficking ring. Now the Brazilian courts have shut down the service for 72 hours in the country for the exact same reason.

Conversations on Whatsapp are encrypted on both ends and this means that the staff cannot access the data. Once the messages are sent, they're not saved as words on Whatsapp so only the users who have sent and received the messages can see them. This can prevent hacking and also stop the wrong people from receiving messages that they shouldn'tunless the user sends them to the wrong person. It's all for the sake of privacy, but in a case like this, it's causing a lot of problems. The Brazilian courts need the messages the drug ring sent, but Whatsapp promise of privacy has allowed them to keep their plans under the radar and this is making it difficult for the courts to convict them. You can understand why they're trying so hard to get this information they need, but Whatsapp can't provide it so they're reacting a little too hard.

This isn't the first time they've blocked Whatsapp for some of the duration of this case, previously they blocked the service for 48 hours. Now they've increased that to 72 hours according to Folha De Sao Paulo from the 2nd of May. All of the mobile carriers within the country will be complying with the request as otherwise they'll have to a pay a daily fine of R$500,000. This second blockage isn't going to work out well for Whatsapp who have already had more than 100 million Brazilian users migrate to Telegram to avoid this. Telegram are one of Whatsapp's biggest rivals and though this is probably very good news for Telegram, Whatsapp stands to lose more users the longer this goes on.

Whatsapp are complying to the best of their ability, but there isn't much they can do in this case. Either the Brazilian courts need to accept this or someone within the drug trafficking ring needs to give the messages up.

Brazilian users are already complaining about this blockage on Twitter and there's only so much more that they can stand.

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