WhatsApp will be blocked by courts in Brazil for 48 hours [Update: suspension lifted]

Update: Reuters is now reporting that a Brazilian higher court has lifted the 48-hour block of WhatsApp, overturning the lower court's ruling.

Original story: A Brazilian court has issued a block on the massively-popular messenger service WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook. This temporary block will remain in place for 48 hours starting this evening. This move will only affect those in the country, and stems from a injunction put forward by an unknown party. Facebook was provided with notification to get in touch with the courts, but reportedly failed to do so and thus has been ordered to close WhatsApp for the stated duration.

What makes this an interesting move is how the service itself is incredibly popular in Brazil. Local operators have complained in the past that services like WhatsApp are threatening their grips on calls with its VoIP functionality, meaning less customers are requiring additional SMS and carrier minutes for their smartphone. While many may assume networks have played a part in this block, it's a real concern for those who rely on WhatsApp to communicate with friends and family.

Will you be affected by this block? If so, what alternatives will you use until WhatsApp is once again available?

Source: Reuters

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

176 Comments
  • Wish they blocked it everywhere. Tired of seeing people glued to their phones all the time.
  • +fb, twitter, snapchat, hangouts, skype Only MSN messenger
  • Reddit.
  • Lol! Alone?
    .....
    BTW I agree with you!
  • Lets ban phones.
  • +1 ^
  • Only ban smartphones but allow feature phones. Then Microsoft will win the market share with their Nokia feature phones!
  • That's right... Lets bring back pigeons
  • Smoke signals
  • "Bongogram! Work every time!" - George of the Jungle
  • Hahahah made my day
  • I prefer smoke signals
  • LOL. Means there will be no long-distance relationship, too.
  • And no more bot callers.
  • Postal service :D
  • @fazdoc, it's not just whatsapp. Besides that is a rather naive point of view.
  • Agreed!!
  • That is a choice..should not be forced on anyone..
  • Agreed. I love technology but we are really forgetting the real problems the world has over it. Just look at how much a company like Intel invests into a tiny increment in performance on their chips every year. How about shifting priorities everyone?
  • Are you suggesting Intel use their money differently? I'm sorry but who are you to say what Intel (a tech company) should do with their money? You should also look into how much they invest in donations by the way, something they wouldn't be able to do if they weren't in business and making money.
  • I didn't specifically mean Intel. Maybe that was the wrong example. I just meant the situation in general. Technology is getting more and more advanced and only the western world is profiting. Even worse, we tend to forget what is really important and then, all of a sudden, we have a global refugee crisis. I just took Intel as an example because chips are so overpowered these days. We don't necessarily need a new generation every year. Other stuff should be more important.
  • I'm not seeing any of the logic behind what you're saying here. How would the advancement of technology slowing down increase any benefit, anywhere? If anything, if these companies cut back, jobs will be lost (all over the world) and things would be worse off. You're making a really big jump in stating that the "global refugee crisis" has any direct correlation with the advancement in technology. The problem is other governments treating their people like crap. If anything, MORE tech is needed to help with economies by providing jobs, and assist with infrastructure (something tech companies are also donating in some locations) 
  • THAT is a very western mindset. I would bet you're from the US and A cause you're not even considering a world beyond yours. The jobs you are talking about, qualifications have to met to fulfil them. I don't think a person in Afghanistan or Syria gives a **** if our micro transistors get more efficient. Nor does he care about our economies or our first world problems. Please explain to me how ANY of the consumer technology benifits anybody but ourselves. You understood me wrong, I wasn't saying ANY advancement in technology is AUTOMATICALLY contra productive. I was just indicating that in MY opinion priorities are wrongly set. Advancements in the fields of medicine or anything of value for these countries are made, VERY SLOWLY. Because you cannot profit from them. How could you? These people have nothing to give. Because the only thing that exists in their lives is terror and the struggle to survive. BECAUSE of our technology their lives are ****. Our weapons, our drones etc. Why would they give a **** for technology if they can't even support their families with the basics (food, water, shelter)? You're saying I'm making "big jumps", well consider making a slightly bigger one yourself next time. We are not the centre of existence. And, yes, I know it's ironic I'm posting this at a technology site.
  • I have no idea where you're getting that I'm not considering a world beyond mine. There are a lot more jobs that are part of technology companies that require little to no qualifications, and are farmed out to 3rd world countries. You have yet, though, to provide any sort of argument to suggest that if these tech companies slowed down, it would improve 3rd world countries. Maybe it's countries like Syria and Afghanistan that need to stop treating their people like garbage and allowing their population to better themselvs. Maybe if that area of the world had THEIR prioraties straight they could provide for their families.
  • Nicely said. You are an ignorant moron. Please stay in your country so that damage can be held to a minimum. Interestingly you used the word"farmed". This about describes it. These "jobs" you are referring too, do you have any idea what you are talking about? You mean the mine workers that are held like slaves and have to mine the raw material for our products? Or do you mean the people who work at the dumps to filter the copper from the mainboards with dangerous chemicals for a pathetic amount of money? To your question, what benefit would it have it these companies slow down? Well nothing will happen! At least nothing will happen for these third world countries. And that's a BAD thing for your information. They will continue their pathetic lives there, we will continue our rich lives here. By the way, you have a very interesting perception of the situation in these countries if I may say. Please inform yourself before spreading"maybes" because what you are saying is not only wrong but dangerous because you influence people around you with this type of crap. I highly doubt the situation right now was a part of any"priority" for these governments. The situation unraveled because of mostly external factors. But I get it. In the end everybody who is not mentally ill or retarded sub- consciously knows why these countries are in such a bad state. You are just desperately trying to find some way of not acknowledging the problem because nothing is wrong on your side of the world. That's natural. We were raised this way. Cheers
  • Well, I don't think whatsapp is main reason for that + it's really useful because free messaging! ^^
  • as long as you have Mobile Internet or WIFI
  • Posting here so maybe people can see this : "A judge has ordered local phone companies to deny access to the service after the company failed to comply with a criminal court case back in July." The carriers wanting to shut down what's app is obviously a stupid speculation from this (and many other) sitee just to make you post lots of useless comments :) . I say obviously because we all know that there are plenty alternatives.
  • I hope this is sarcasm because it seems ironic you'd make such a statement via this medium.
    Why should you be bothered by the frequency in which others use their cellphones? Ignore them. Unless, someone, being distracted by their phone, crashes into you, what affect does it have on you, really?
    Bah! Come now.... There are more pressing matters to be bothered with. Cheers.
  • They should block snapchat. The stupidest social media of all time...
  • You're just mad that it's not on windows phone yet. Therefore you can't swap private pics with your female peeps. It may be a dumb app but millions use it... That's a lot of dic pics and nudes being sent every minute.
  • What? Not only did I use it while e had 6snap, I also used it on my wife's iPhone and the app just doesn't appeal to me. I don't need to know what people are doing every 30min. Besides, I never really sent any snap, so... And yeah, dicks and nudes are all humanity needs right now.
  • Probably the dumbest comment ever. You do realize that there is a large percentage of these people "glued" that are using them for productivity, or their ONLY way of staying in touch with loved ones right?
  • Lets ban internet
  • Using hotspot shield, but the app is like a ghost town. Telegram and skype is my alternatives
  • Same here, none online.
  • Many are using Samsung chat now. Too bad for WP users, though
  • Nobody uses samsung chat... Lolol and if they do its a poor alternative...that will see usage drop after WhatsApp is reinstated
  • UNCONSTITUTIONAL! Unfortunate situation ... Many people are using a VPN connection to access the Whatsapp
  • Is not unconstitutional. Read the constitution: III – suspensão temporária das atividades que envolvam os atos previstos no art. 11; ou IV – proibição de exercício das atividades que envolvam os atos previstos no art. 11.
  • I know its awkward, but there are acctualy people among this community who do not speak Portugués (0_0)
  • I know. But the guy seems Brazilian. Anyway, the Constitution says that they can block in the latter case temporarily. And if the company/service does not cooperate, they can block forever. lol
  • Perfeito amigo, porem isso nao fere nosso direito de comunicação que é garantido pela constituição?
    Como sempre, essa palhaçada... Um artigo infringindo outro!
  • Você ainda pode comunicar. Bloquearam WhatsApp, e não todos aplicativos...
  • Usa un altros aplicativos amigo :p 
  • Exatamente! Se parar pra pensar.. Chega a ser uma decisão anti democrata..
  • Well socialist governments does such thing as wants takes control over everything people does
  • Use a translator
  • Hum... you can use the translator app? "III – temporary suspension of activities involving the acts provided for in art. 11; or IV-prohibition of exercise of activities involving the acts provided for in art. 11."
  • @Mohamed, technically this article is for anyone in Brazil and surrounding areas. Are you in Latin America? You should be speaking Potuguese @Mohamed Fadel El Abadila
  • Emmmm actually most Latin America speaks Spanish, sooooooo
  • Como estas amigo
  • Ennada pesuringa
  • Boppity boopity boo
  • I agree with Matheus, Whatsapp is no longer an app social, it's a communication system, what courts are doing is blackmail, same case happened a time ago, for same unknown reasons and someone compare this with a case where if a drug dealer ships drugs over postal mail is reason for block all postal service in all country.
  • This is rubbish, now I've lost contact with friends there!!!
  • Well you could block the postal service if they do not cooperate with the law to catch the drug dealer. I mean, that example means nothing.
  • I am not Brazilian, I am British. It seems worrying to me that a court can block your access to an internet service like this with no warning (to the user) and with no explanation. If I was Brazilian I would be dusting off the placards right about now. What's next? Very concerning for Brazilians. I hope you folks manage to wrest control from the undemocratic forces that seem to be at work here. Thin end of the wedge? This kind of secrecy is poor form indeed.
  • This should only worry the company, the consumers have plenty apps to choose from, if, and this is really a big IF, what's app did not cooperate with brazilian law then they should be blocked and consumers go to the competition.
  • yep many better alternatives are available.
  • The law is the law in each country, but depending on the reason for a permanent ban it could still be worrying to the consumers - Even if there's alternative apps out there. I don't know the full story or what the legal issue is with What's App.
  • Is there a reason given at the moment for what What's App has done wrong? From the article it says the 48 hour ban is down to them not responding to the courts, which at least is a reason - I haven't actively looked at info on the situation, but is the issue that the messages are sent encrypted / their government doesn't have free access to the data in an unencrypted format?
  • It's nothing about undemocratic forces. They didn't reveal why yet because the case is a secret. Probably something with a drug dealers or something worst. Maybe WhatsApp didn't cooperated, I don't know. That fact that we have laws here and WhatsApp didn't respect the order in July and August. WhatsApp app is great but we have laws for everyone (the poor guy to the rich company like facebook/whatsapp). Sorry for my English.
  • The problem is not about whether democratic laws should be enforced, it's the taking down of a service with no reason given. If they had said that the secrecy was due to a big drug lord case or some such then OK (no need for details in the short term) or even that there is a 'national security issue' then there would likely be more understanding. Justice needs not only to be done, but to be seen to be done. Secret 'justice' is not justice. It is dangerous. This is not a new concept. I would be surprised if the Brazilian authorities don't understand this, so I can only assume they don't care? That has got to worry people.
    They could have fined Whatsapp. They could have done any number of things. A secret court censoring access for so many people who would not be heard is not a common solution in a democracy. Unless Brazilians allow it to become acceptable.
  • They did fine WhatsApp, but WhatsApp didn't pay it.
  • Yes, I agree with you. The thing is, these days, there are so many small business using WhatsApp for work. It's very concerning.
       
  • You can ban what's app and other apps but banning of phone will be almost impossible.
  • Mine will be skype, the best choice
  • Do you live in brazil?
  • i think Skype is also banned. Better try telegram or KIK messenger @Vineeth Nair3
  • No, it isn't. Just WhatsApp.
  • or I suppose you could just write your own if it was for business use, or use with specific friends. I've got some progress on a hobby UWP app that's designed for you to host the server yourself giving you full control. Not necessarily intended to be released at any point.
  • Skype will be my choice too :)
  • A round of applause to that liberal internet neutrality bill that made possible hurting over 93 million people that rely on this service here in Brazil. I'll be using either Telegram or Viber to communicate with people on my phone.
  • Well if businesses complain about a monopoly to a overseeing body then said body needs to act, no?
    Yes, whatsapp is popular and helps people. However you need to look at every single element in this story. If a local business cannot compete and pay their staff, they will have to let them go.
    Of course if the carriers are arms of of large corporations then that's a different story entirely. As they can be propped up for awhile before being spun off. Plus if the carriers don't want to transition to compete, again that is another story.
  • Brazil has also said that Uber is not stealing passengers from cabs nor harming their business, instead Uber is creating a new demand for their service from people that were not taxi users. Yet, taxi drivers are protesting against Uber and assaulting their drivers, even though they're not losing a dime. The same is happening to WhatsApp, so what you have said does not reflect the truth.
  • Uber drivers only pay to the app company and doesn't need a licenses. Taxi drivers has to pay taxes AND the company. That's why they are mad. It's funny. Our justice forbidden Vans because they doesn't have a license and everybody agreed. And now everyone if on uber side. Probably because Van was for the poor people and uber is for middle class and rich people. It's sad
  • If vans are banned how do goods get transported? Car trailers or something? How odd.
  • He meant vans to transport people. We had vans such as Ford Transit and Mercedes Benz Sprinters transporting people here.
  • 1.500.000 new brasilian Telegram user in less then eight hours..
  • Rise of the Telegram
  • Or it might be their temporary downfall. :)
  • Partiu Telegram!
  • ele é similar só que melhor, #timetoswitch
  • So Brazilians get to sleep well two nights! Lucky people lol when in Spain ? :D
  • There are laws in Brazil (believe it or not), and no services are above the law. Whatsapp was notified twice. In the third the service would be blocked. Is only blocked in as a last resort.
  • So by that logic if someone gets punched to death all of us should have our fists chopped off? LOL that law is unconstitutional.
  • @Lipe13, please think about what you are saying lol.
  • @Lipe13 ?!? What kind of example is that? It's an interruption of service, not a punishment towards users. It's like if your girlfriend gets imprisoned because she killed someone and you don't get to have *** with her: it will affect you indirectly but it's clearly not directed at you.
  • Hey Ramollo, I am being punished but I haven't commited a crime to justify the punishment. I use WhatsApp to talk to clients and male a living... Why didn't the justice just fined WhatsApp for some money instead of hitting everyone with a punishment?
  • With Facebook behind it a financial penalty might now necessarily be a big problem. Could potentially be a bigger problem for them if they lose a large number of users, assuming they monetise those users in some way or another that is.
  • You were being punished by WhatsApp alone and its ignorance towards the brazilians. Not by the government.
  • And like there are alternatives to WhatsApp, she has some attractive friends who have always blushed with wide smiles in your presence.
  • @920Walker
    Ha ha!!
  • It's not because there's a law that the law is good or makes sense. VoIP is a great technology and is competing fairly, the carriers are just trying to use the government to protect their assets instead of allowing the customer to decide what's best for them.
    It's as if people who bred horses tried to ban cars when they were invented because sales of horses went down.
  • @Azizelh, well said.
  • It has nothing to do with voip or carriers trying to block whatsapp​. Whatsapp did not comply with a judicial order (for six months, even after being fined) so it was blocked.
  • Thanks, that's what I meant.