WhatsApp blocked in Brazil after it refuses to hand over user data

On Thursday, a Brazilian judge overturned a 48-hour block of WhatsApp that a lower court had imposed when the company refused to hand over user data demanded by prosecutors in an investigation.

WhatsApp, a phone-messaging app which Facebook owns but considers a separate company, estimates it has 100 million personal users in Brazil: about half the population.

The truncated block – it lasted 12 hours on Thursday – infuriated users and led to angry exchanges on the floor of Congress, Reuters reports.

The block had been ordered by a judge in Sao Paulo and was supposed to be in effect starting midnight on Wednesday (0200 GMT Thursday) after the company, in spite of being fined, failed to comply with two judicial rulings to share information in a criminal case.

A judge in a higher court, Judge Xavier de Souza from the 11th criminal court of Sao Paulo, on Thursday issued an injunction to restore WhatsApp services, calling it unreasonable to punish millions of Brazilians due to one company’s recalcitrance, suggesting instead a higher fine:

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