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Brazil’s military authorised to block mobile calls during Olympics

Brazil’s regulator Anatel has granted the country’s military the authority to block mobile phone calls during the Olympic and Paralympic games set to take place this August in Rio de Janeiro.

However, there is no danger of the military abusing this power, as the order only applies in situations that are considered emergencies – although this does extend beyond the Olympics to encompass operations aimed at defending law and order.

This was the justification given for the country’s recent brief ban on WhatsApp. The OTT messaging service was shut down for 48 hours last month on the grounds that it had not complied with a court order.  

The Olympics order goes against previous major sporting events, which have typically encouraged the use of new communications services rather than limiting access to them. Russian operators MTS and MegaFon have both expressed their desire to demo 5G services for guests and participants during the 2018 World Cup due to take place in the country.

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