Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) WhatsApp Messenger has been restored in Brazil after its temporary suspension for failing to hand over information that would help in investigating criminal cases.
The latest suspension of the service marks the third time that WhatsApp has been blocked in the country. The suspension was ordered by Judge Daniela Barbosa of the lower courts in Brazil. The judge accused Facebook of interfering with a criminal investigation but she did not go into the details of the investigation. Judge Barbosa, however, pointed out that the social media giant had been repeatedly requested to provide messages to the police in Caxias, Rio.
WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum stated that it was appalling that roughly two months after Brazilian lawmakers and citizens condemned blocking the service, the court went ahead and ordered another WhatsApp suspension. Kou highlighted the 72-hour suspension of the messaging service which took place in May, forcing users to seek alternative messaging services. Brazil is one of the countries with the highest mobile service charges and WhatsApp has been a vital product that users have adopted to reduce their charges. This is because the app not only allows them to send messages; it also allows them to make cheaper calls through the internet.
The disruption of the service, therefore, affected most of the users in the country. Users took to social media sites such as Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) to express their outrage over the WhatsApp suspension. Facebook has maintained its stand over the matter claiming that it cannot hand over user conversations to the government even if it wanted to because the messaging service uses end to end user encryption. This means conversations cannot be intercepted and can only be accessed by the sender and by the recipient.
Analysts believe that regular disruption of the service could render the service less attractive to users, causing them to shift to other services in the market. The Brazilian government is currently working on a bill that will regulate judicial access to digital information during investigations.