WhatsApp block in Brazil overturned after court appeal and user complaints

Mondays ruling for 72-hour shutdown, made to force WhatsApp to cooperate in ongoing case, was cancelled after complaints at second block in five months

A Brazilian judge has overturned a suspension of Facebook Incs WhatsApp messaging application that affected some 100 million users, after many people voiced frustration at the second such freeze in five months in the South American country.

On Monday, a judge in the north-eastern state of Sergipe had ordered Brazils five main wireless operators to block access to WhatsApp for 72 hours. The reason for the order was not made public due to legal secrecy in an ongoing case before the state court.

However, a different judge from the state tribunal intervened on Tuesday to cancel the ruling following an appeal from WhatsApps lawyers, the court said in a statement.

The judge who ordered the suspension, Marcel Maia Montalvo, in March ordered the imprisonment of a Brazil-based Facebook executive in a dispute over law enforcement demands for data from the companys encrypted messaging service for use in a drug trafficking investigation.

The executive was freed after about 24 hours, when an appeals court overturned his arrest.

WhatsApp had said in a statement on Monday that it was disappointed at the judges decision to suspend its services, saying it had done the utmost to cooperate with Brazilian tribunals, but it did not possess the information the court was requesting.

The company has said in the past that it does not store encrypted information from WhatsApp messages.

The incident comes as technology companies face mounting pressure from governments around the world to help them eavesdrop on users and censor data.

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The suspension of WhatsApp services had frustrated many in Brazil, where more than three quarters of mobile phone subscribers use the app.

It was an invasive measure, said Mariana Pepeu, a 23-year-old student in Rio de Janeiro. But the laws for the internet are very recent and they are still being written (in Brazil).

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/may/03/brazil-whatsapp-block-ruling-overturned