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For 24 hours, WhatsApp was banned in Brazil after Judge Marcel Maia Montalvão seeking user data from the service for a criminal investigation issued a court order to telecom providers to ban WhatsApp for 72 hours.
The outcry against the ban was immediate and spread from Brazil to the rest of the world. Today Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and founder of Facebook, the parent company of WhatsApp, announced that the service has been unbanned in Brazil.
The ban came after Diego Dzodan, a Facebook executive, was taken into custody in March for not complying with orders to turn over WhatsApp data. It is not that WhatsApp has refused to provide the data but the company claims that it cannot as the data is encrypted and does not have access to it. A few weeks ago WhatsApp rolled end-to-end encryption, making it impossible even for the company to access its users’ data, rendering any requests for users’ data impossible.
Writing on his Facebook page, Zuckerberg was thrilled at the news.
“WhatsApp is now back online in Brazil! Your voices have been heard once again. Thank you to our community for helping resolve this,” he wrote.
This is not the first time that WhatsApp has been banned in Brazil. In December, a judge in São Paulo ordered telecommunications providers to block WhatsApp for 48 hours, claiming that it had not complied with police requests to provide data in criminal drug case.
To prevent this from happening again, Zuckerberg encouraged everyone in Brazil to show up before the nation’s Congress tomorrow and support an introduction of laws that would prevent courts from blocking services like WhatsApp.
“Tomorrow, in Brasilia at 6pm, the Internet Freedom Caucus is hosting an event and will be introducing laws to prevent blocking internet services like WhatsApp. If you are Brazilian and you support WhatsApp, I encourage you to make your voice heard,” wrote Zuckerberg.
A Change.org petition against the WhatsApp ban and calling on Brazil’s Congress to support a free and open Internet was started and is only short of 4533 signatures to reach its 150 000 signature target.