Brazil shuts WhatsApp

A Brazilian judge has, for the second time, ordered the Facebook-owned WhatsApp messaging service to be shut down across the country for 72 hours.

A judge in the north-east state of Sergipe has told the country's four main telcos to block the service, cutting off tens of millions of users for the second time in five months.

The decision follows an almost identical shutdown back in December. That time, the ban was soon lifted after consumer outrage, including angry comments in the nation's Congress.

Adding to the confusion, people do not even know why the ban has been introduced as it surrounded a court case smothered by a blanket of secrecy.

It is a virtual certainty however than the ban comes as the result of WhatsApp refusing to hand over personal messaging details of an individual under investigation, since this is what sparked the previous shutdown.

The judge in this case is the same one that ordered the arrest of Facebook executive Diego Dzodan in March after he failed to comply with a court order to provide the private chat messages of a suspected drug trafficker. ®

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