Tech

Brazil Shuts WhatsApp Down For 72 Hours

By Charissa Echavez , May 03, 2016 10:57 AM EDT
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The Brazilian government is now the subject of ire of netizens after the popular social media mobile app Whatsapp is currently banned in the country for 72 hours starting 2 p.m. local time, as the result of the dispute over data breach and privacy of its users.

A judge named Marcel Maia Montalvão from the northeastern state of Sergipof gave the order in addition to the decision to detain Diego Dzodan, Vice President for Latin America of Facebook, two months ago, over the app's failure to cooperate and provide the data information such as messages and contents that are being exchanged between the app's 100 million nationwide users in Brazil.

The authorities and investigators were requesting for the group messages and geolocations of the users involved months prior to this decision, but the mobile company has not responded at all, said Monica Horta, spokeswoman for Federal Police in Sergipe.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg expressed his feelings over the matter, saying that he was stunned at the extreme decision. Meanwhile, WhatsApp founder and CEO Jan Koum said on his official Facebook page, "Yet again millions of innocent Brazilians are being punished because a court wants WhatsApp to turn over information we repeatedly said we don't have."

"Not only do we encrypt messages end-to-end on WhatsApp to keep people's information safe and secure, we also don't keep your chat history on our servers. When you send an end-to-end encrypted message, no one else can read it - not even us," he continued.

"While we are working to get WhatsApp back up and running as soon as possible, we have no intention of compromising the security of our billion users around the world."

He also added a link about the end-to-end encryption article on the Whatsapp blog to enlighten the public of their side. The company said that their data have been protected by end-to-end encryption and that they will only be available to the sender and recipient of the messages alone. The government treated this as refusal to cooperate over these data that were supposed to be used for national security.

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