WhatsApp-ening in Brazil?

Must be something in the Brazilian water.

WhatsApp, the popular Facebook-owned over-the-top (OTT) messaging service, was blocked again in Brazil yesterday for failure to comply in a criminal case, though very briefly.

WhatsApp “cannot be offered to more than 100 million Brazilians without complying with the laws of the country, while failing to comply with judicial orders and obstructing criminal investigations,” Judge Daniela Barbosa Assumpção de Souza reportedly said in a court statement.

A judge in the Brazilian Supreme Court lifted the ban a few hours later, saying that the ruling violated the principles of freedom of communication and expression.

This is the third time the service has been blocked in the country since December.

“In his decision, the chief justice stressed how people from across Brazil, including members of the judiciary, rely on WhatsApp to communicate with others every day, and that they bear the greatest burden when a service is blocked. We hope that this puts an end to blocks that have punished millions of Brazilians and that people can continue using services like WhatsApp to stay in touch with those who matter to them,” WhatsApp said in a statement reported by Recode.

WhatsApp has featured prominently in the global debate on privacy versus law enforcement/security since it rolled out end-to-end encryption on its service last year.

Consistent governmental interruptions of service could make the Brazilian people look elsewhere for a messaging service.

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