Brazilian judge overturns WhatsApp shutdown in fight over encrypted data

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By Larry Banks

This week a judge in Brazil lifted the temporary ban of Facebook’s WhatsApp Messenger app, which was imposed on Monday by another judge in a fight over chat data demanded in relation to a drug trafficking case.

The original ruling was overturned after an appeal by lawyers for WhatsApp, according to Reuters. If it had been left in place, the ban would have kept the popular chat app offline in Brazil for two more days.

WhatsApp is one of the most popular chat apps in the country, used by more than 100 million people for text messaging and voice calls. The app is reportedly used instead of a normal phone service due to high cellular rates.

The original judge who imposed the ban on Monday, Marcel Montalvao, has been attempting to obtain records from the company related to the drug case in question. WhatsApp however has said that because the data is encrypted, it doesn’t have any readable data to hand over.

Before this week, there was another short-term ban in December, plus the arrest in March of Facebook’s Latin American VP, Diego Dzodan, who was released after a day of appeals.

The situation draws comparison with the legal battles that Apple is facing in the US, where the firm has fought government requests to unlock iPhones, saying that by writing new code to do so, it would weaken the encryption in iOS.

SOURCE: AppleInsider.

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