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Update: Reuters has just confirmed that a Brazilian judge has just lifted the 48-hour suspension of WhatsApp. Judge Xavier de Souza from the 11th criminal court of Sao Paulo said in a ruling, “Considering the constitutional principles, it does not look reasonable that millions of users be affected as a result of the company’s inertia to provide information.”

Original post: Access to the popular messaging service WhatsApp has been blocked in Brazil for 48 hours. A judge has ordered local phone companies to deny access to the service after the company failed to comply with a criminal court case back in July.

Brazilian phone company SindiaTelebrasil confirmed that it had been ordered to shut off access to WhatApp’s text messaging and access to internet voice calls yesterday afternoon. The decision was reached after WhatsApp failed to comply with a judicial order which is apparently related to drug trafficking offences, one of Sao Paulo’s biggest criminal gangs and the use of WhatsApp in the commission crimes, according to local TV sources. After failing to comply a second time on August 7th, the court issued a fine against the company for non-compliance. This ban is a further escalation by the courts.

“We are disappointed in the short-sighted decision to cut off access to WhatsApp, a communication tool that so many Brazilians have come to depend on, and sad to see Brazil isolate itself from the rest of the world,” – Jan Koum, chief executive of WhatsApp

The 48 hour access block has been issued under terms in the country’s internet legislation. The ban has been in effect from midnight last night and will therefore last until midnight on Friday. It is certainly unfortunate that regular customers are having to take the hit, but at least there are simple alternatives available for the next couple of days.

Neither WhatsApp nor Facebook, which owns the service, has responded to questions about the ban.

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