Court order shuts down WhatsApp in Brazil, again

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SAO PAULO: Irate Brazilians found themselves without the popular WhatsApp smartphone messaging application for the second time in six months on Monday (Tuesday in Manila), after a court blocked the service for 72 hours. A flurry of angry commentary immediately broke out online after a small-town judge blocked WhatsApp nationwide because Facebook, its owner, failed to hand over information requested in a drug-trafficking investigation. The court order from Judge Marcel Montalvao in the northeastern town of Lagarto, in Sergipe state, shut down WhatsApp from 2:00 pm (1700 GMT). According to Brazilian media reports, drug traffickers targeted in the investigation had been using WhatsApp to discuss their business. It is the latest standoff between the Brazilian authorities and Facebook, which has said it has no technical means for cooperating with such requests. Facebook’s vice president for Latin America, Diego Dzodan, was arrested in March over the same case. Police said they were holding the Argentine national responsible for “repeated non-compliance with court orders.”

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