WhatsApp goes to Rio (again), but the battle is far from over

Supreme Court lifts block ahead of full hearing; government mulls service regulation


WhatsApp is back in Brazil, and the company hopes this time it's permanent.

After a magistrate ordered a nationwide block on the service, the matter was taken to the country's Supreme Court. When The Register reported on the situation yesterday, that appeal was still under consideration.

Readers have now alerted The Register that the Supreme Court's Chief Justice Ricardo Lewandowski ordered the service be restored immediately. Earlier, the Chief Justice had granted an injunction against the block, meaning users were only without service for about five hours in total.

When he granted the injunction the Chief Justice said blocking the app created legal uncertainty, interfered with citizens' freedom of expression, and seemed at odds with the law.

WhatsApp issued a statement to local media expressing the hope that this would be the last time it has to face a Brazilian blockade. However, Universo Online reports Lewandowski's decision is provisional, and the matter will still need to come before the Supreme Court for a full trial.

That's not the only bad news for the company: Globo reports the country's justice minister Alexandre de Moraes is preparing a bill to regulate services like WhatsApp, including a requirement that services maintain a local office and enable lawful intercepts. ®

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