WhatsApp has run into further trouble in Brazil after a judge in the state of Sergipe ordered the app to be blocked for 72 hours by all five of the country’s major operators.
The ban has been imposed for a similar reason to the previous one – WhatsApp has refused to comply with a court order to hand over information pertinent to a criminal investigation. In December 2015 a judge in Sao Paulo state ordered the app to be blocked for 48 hours, although the ban did not last long.
WhatsApp’s CEO Jan Koum has railed against the decision, saying “yet again millions of innocent Brazilians are being punished” despite WhatsApp’s repeated insistence that it does not have the desired information. The company recently implemented end-to-end encryption across all messages sent via the app, and Koum underlined that chat histories are not stored on its servers.
Koum stated on Facebook: “When you send an end-to-end encrypted message, no one else can read it – not even us. While we are working to get WhatsApp back up and running as soon as possible, we have no intention of compromising the security of our billion users around the world.”
The operators that were ordered to block WhatsApp included Claro, Nextel, Oi, Telefonica and TIM.