In a move that has angered free speech activists in the country, a Brazilian court ordered WhatsApp be suspended for 72 hours on Monday, leaving over 100 million users locked out of the service. The court found that the company’s recent push toward encryption might interfere with federally imposed law contravening communications relating to the drug trade. Put simply – the courts felt it would create too big a loophole for traffickers to pass messages between one another, and ordered transcripts be handed over.
Whatsapp, in reply, simply argued that it doesn’t keep such records and couldn’t decrypt messages from its users even if it did retain their contents. This is the latest in a series of attempts by Brazil’s court to pressure Whatsapp and parent company Facebook into sharing their data – including the arrest of Facebook’s Latin America VP, Diego Dzodan in March.