Judge orders WhatsApp blocked in Brazil

Judge orders WhatsApp blocked in Brazil
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WhatsApp is once again facing a ban in Brazil.

Reuters reported on Tuesday that a Brazilian judge ordered wireless carriers to block the Facebook-owned messaging application. The judge's office said that the ban would be lifted when Facebook gave up some data.

This is the third time that the application has been blocked in Brazil, where it has roughly 100 million users, in recent months.

Previous court-ordered shutdowns have stemmed from Brazilian demands for WhatsApp user data. The application encrypts its data end-to-end by default, meaning that even the company cannot access it.

“In recent months, people from all across Brazil have rejected judicial blocks of services like WhatsApp,” said a WhatsApp spokesperson. “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.”

It remains to be seen whether this ban will last. The courts overturned a block in May, and a court-ordered ban on the service in December was reversed within hours.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has personally spoken out against bans in the country in the past.

“This is a sad day for Brazil,” he said in December. “I am stunned that our efforts to protect people's data would result in such an extreme decision by a single judge to punish every person in Brazil who uses WhatsApp.”