WhatsApp Is What’s Going Down


A Brazilian judge has ordered WhatsApp to shut down in the country for three days. The move affects 100 million users, making up around half of the country’s population.

The court involved in the case has put it under seal and not publicly revealed the reason for the decision. However, the New York Times reports that it involves drug trafficking and organized crime.

A spokesman for WhatsApp has said the company has cooperated to the “full extent of our ability.” That’s prompted speculation that the court has ordered it to hand over the content of some messages, but that this is impossible because they were sent using end-to-end encryption.

The same judge, acting in the same criminal case, previously ordered an executive from WhatsApp parent company Facebook to be brought into custody. Diego Dzodan spent one night in jail before a higher court overturned that order.

In a separate case, a judge ordered a two-day shutdown in December after the company refused to allow the police to intercept messages, but that order was overturned on appeal the same day. That hasn’t happened this time and the company has complied with the shutdown order under threat of a daily fine of $142,000.

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