As per the ruling of Judge Marcel Montalvao of Lagarto, Sergipe in Brazil, all carriers of the country are to keep WhatsApp services banned for 72 hours nationwide. This is the second time such a ruling as been passed. Last year in December WhatsApp was banned nationwide for 48 hours but the ban was lifted after 12 hours due to public discontent. This ban will affect about 100 million WhatsApp users in the country. If carriers fail to block WhatsApp, they could face a fine of up to 500,000 reais, equivalent to 140,000 USD.
At this moment the ground behind this ruling is not clear but it could have something to do with an ongoing investigation in Lagarto related to drug cartels. The investigation also saw Facebook’s Latin American VP Diego Dzodan going to the jail for a short time in March this year. Following the judgement Facebook has published a statement which says that this ruling, “punishes more than 100 million users who depend upon us to communicate themselves, run their business and more, just to force us hand over information that we don’t have.” The carriers have not made any comments yet.