Brazil Has Temporarily Blocked Whatsapp Over A Legal Dispute

Brazil Has Temporarily Blocked Whatsapp Over A Legal Dispute

Whatsapp has proven to be insanely popular in Brazil, as the number-one most used app in the country. But that doesn’t matter to a Brazilian court, which ordered a 48-hour blockade of the service over an injunction from a mysterious third party.

The court ordered Brazil’s telecoms companies to block access to the app for 48 hours, starting at 0200 GMT on Thursday. The block is a punishment for WhatsApp’s refusal to communicate with the court. According to a statement put out by the court:

“Because WhatsApp did not respond to a court order of July 23, 2015, on August 7, 2015, the company was again notified, with there being a fixed penalty in case of non-compliance. As yet the company did not attend the court order, the prosecution requested the blocking of services for a period of 48 hours, based on the law […], which was granted by Judge Sandra Regina Nostre Marques.”

The court order relates to a third party seeking an injunction against WhatsApp. The judge kept the name of the third party a secret, but it comes at a time when Brazilian cell companies are lobbying against WhatsApp taking away their SMS and voice calling business.

Entrentched industries lashing out against a novel tech solution isn’t exactly news, but the “fixed penalty” in this case seems bizarre. Sure, the move will hurt WhatsApp — other messaging services are already starting to take up the slack — but it will annoy Brazilian citizens far more.