A Brazilian judge has ordered the blocking of WhatsApp. The order came in the last couple of days and has been reported in mainstream media:
The blocking order means that 100 million Brazilian users of WhatsApp are cut off.
AFNIC‘s Stéphane Bortzmeyer did a bit of digging around using RIPE’s Atlas probes and the blocking can be seen clearly in how Brazilian DNS is falsely reporting that WhatsApp is unreachable.
So why is a Brazilian court so upset with WhatsApp?
Apparently this is linked directly to WhatsApp’s decision recently to turn on end to end encryption. In common with the FBI vs Apple case, the issue stems from the conflict between law enforcement / government / legal issues vs security / privacy / encryption.
In a post-Snowden world more and more consumer applications are switching on encryption in order to assuage their users’ concerns about privacy and snooping. With full end to end encryption enabled companies like WhatsApp (which is owned by Facebook) cannot handover consumer data to authorities, as they don’t have access to it.
What’s concerning about this case is that so many users have been cut off as a result of a single judge’s ruling.