Update – May 3, 2:00 pm EST: As reported by Fortune, a judge has ruled to unblock WhatsApp in Brazil, overturning the “suspension” put into place by another judge yesterday. The ruling comes about 24 hours into the 72-hour ban, and returns service to the 100+ WhatsApp users in Brazil.
Original Text: WhatsApp is blocked in Brazil again, this time for a period of 72 hours. A judge ruled that WhatsApp be blocked, over their “refusal to cooperate in a police investigation.” The investigation is related to a drug case and a case involving gang activity. Phone companies can be fined over $140,000 per day if they do not comply and block the app. The mobile carriers asked to enact the block are: Telefonica Brasil SA, América Móvil SAB’s Claro, TIM Participações SA, Oi SA and Nextel Participações SA.
This is the third time Brazil blocked WhatsApp recently — both in December 2015 and March 2016. The previous blocks were also implemented as a result of the company’s refusal to comply with a criminal investigations. Brazil has also been in the news recently for their proposed cybercrime law, which imposes new censorship and threatens privacy and Internet freedom.
WhatsApp is owned by Facebook, and recently announced end-to-end encryption throughout their service. This means WhatsApp cannot view nor provide access to messages to law enforcement, even if they wanted to.
As a company that stands for a free and open Internet, it’s quite concerning to see blocks & censorship events increasing in Brazil. A VPN like VyprVPN provides access to a free and open Internet, allowing users to bypass censorship and restrictions put in place by governments. You can use VyprVPN to bypass the WhatsApp block and retain access to the app.
Fight Back Against Internet Shutdowns
Internet blocks and shutdowns are increasingly common around the world. Access Now recently launched a Keep It On campaign to fight back against these blocks. You can take a stand against censorship by getting involved in the online conversation using #KeepItOn, and sign the petition.