RIO DE JANEIRO: A Brazilian judge has ordered the nationwide suspension of the instant messaging application WhatsApp because it won’t help out in a police investigation.
Rio de Janeiro Judge Daniela Barbosa ruled that access to the application should be blocked immediately. That is expected to happen once phone companies are notified.
According to Barbosa’s ruling, WhatsApp owner Facebook has been repeatedly asked to intercept messages sent through the service to help in a criminal probe in the city of Caxias, outside Rio.
Facebook did not immediately comment on the judge’s decision.
Earlier this year, a judge from northeastern state of Alagoas gave a similar ruling in a separate case.
In May, the court had agreed to lift the ban on WhatsApp after suspending it for failing to surrender user data. The company had earlier appealed against the ban. The court after rejecting an initial appeal, upheld the second appeal.
Rejecting the first appeal, the court had said in a statement that WhatsApp was “playing down the importance of an investigation into members of a criminal organization who use the application.”
It accused WhatsApp of “covering up the seriousness of the crime allegedly committed — drug trafficking — with the argument of defending users’ right to privacy.” WhatsApp had insisted that they are cooperating with the investigations. The company had claimed that it has no technical means for complying with such requests.