A Brazilian court blocked Facebook Inc’s funds worth $6.07 million after WhatsApp did not hand over messages that were sought by the court in a drugs case. In a similar case in India, an RTI activist, Sudhir Yadav’s petition to shut down WhatsApp’s services in India was turned down by the Supreme Court.
Brazil’s federal police said that the company had ignored or defied orders to turn over the messages repeatedly. This information/data regarding suspected international cocaine smuggling ring members/cartel was crucial to the investigation, said the authorities. This investigation has been on since January.
The officials also revealed that the messages would help them establish a link between those captured in their recent raids and their associates in Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay and Spain.
Since WhatsApp does not have an account in the country, the court gave orders to freeze the account of its parent company, Facebook. WhatsApp ran the risk of having their services shut down, according to the Brazillian law.
In a similar matter, earlier this year, a judge gave orders to shut down WhatsApp’s services for 72 hours, but a higher court was forced to reinstate it after 24 hours, following an outrage from 100 million users in Brazil.
In India, activist Sudhir Yadav just like the Brazilian Federal Police claimed that the encrypted messages in WhatsApp would take over “100 years” to be decrypted even by the company. However, due to lack of evidence regarding such activities on WhatsApp, the court had dismissed his petition.
The world’s largest social IM hub has been put under the legal knife several times in India and other countries, because of such security concerns. The end-to-end encryption has landed them in a significant amount of trouble.