We’re going through a bit of déjà vu here: a judge in Brazil has ordered a nationwide block on WhatsApp after the company refused to comply with a court order to reveal user information in a crime investigation.
“This event was off the charts”
Gary Vaynerchuk was so impressed with TNW Conference 2016 he paused mid-talk to applaud us.
Brazil’s five mobile carriers were informed at 11:30 AM local time (Río de Janeiro) after Judge Daniela Barbosa’s decisionand must block the service. Users are now starting to seeing the effects of the blockage trickle in:
— Cacheada ❀ (@Eysshi) July 19, 2016
Whatsapp parou 👎🏻
— Raphael Silva (@bfr_silva) July 19, 2016
Com whatsapp. | Sem whatsapp pic.twitter.com/bSQLJMVLuQ
— Faustão FC (@faustanetes) July 19, 2016
We aren’t exactly fluent in Portuguese, but we get the sentiment.
The judge is ordering the company to pay $50,000 per day until it complies with a court order to release the information.
It’s unfortunate timing, what with the Rio Olympics coming up in a few weeks, meaning there’s likely an influx of even more people relying on the app for their communications.
Update 1:35 PM ET: WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum posted on Facebook about the incident – understandably unhappy – and the company provided us with the following statement, which more or less says the same:
“In recent months, people from all across Brazil have rejected judicial blocks of services like WhatsApp. Indiscriminate steps like these threaten people’s ability to communicate, to run their businesses, and to live their lives. As we’ve said in the past, we cannot share information we don’t have access to. We hope to see this block lifted as soon as possible.”
In the meantime, anybody want to place bets on how long it will take?
Update 5:21 PM ET: Reuters reports that Brazil’s Federal Supreme Court has suspended Judge Barbosa’s ruling. Proceed normally, Brazilians.