Whatsapp has proven to be insanely popular in Brazil, as the number-one most used app in the country. But that doesn’t matter to a Brazilian court, which has ordered a 48-hour blockade of the service over an injunction from a mysterious third party.
The court has ordered Brazil’s telecoms companies to block access to the app for 48 hours, starting at 0200 GMT on Thursday. The block is a punishment for WhatsApp’s refusal to communicate with the court. According to a statement put out by the court:
“Because WhatsApp did not respond to a court order of July 23, 2015, on August 7, 2015, the company was again notified, with there being a fixed penalty in case of non-compliance. As yet the company did not attend the court order, the prosecution requested the blocking of services for a period of 48 hours, based on the law […], which was granted by Judge Sandra Regina Nostre Marques.”
The court order relates to a third party seeking an injunction against WhatsApp. The judge kept the name of the third party a secret, but it comes at a time when Brazilian cell companies are lobbying against WhatsApp taking away their SMS and voice calling business.
Entrentched industries lashing out against a novel tech solution isn’t exactly news, but the “fixed penalty” in this case seems bizarre. Sure, the move will hurt WhatsApp—other messaging services are already starting to take up the slack—but it will annoy Brazilian citizens far more.