After Third WhatsApp Shutdown, Brazil Plans to Draft Digital Data Bill

Fortune/Reuters, 07/20/2016

The Brazilian government plans to draft a bill regulating judicial access to digital data in criminal investigations, following the third nationwide court-mandated shutdown of the popular WhatsApp messaging service since December, newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo reported Wednesday.

According to Estado, Justice Minister Alexandre de Moraes said the bill should provide a framework for cooperation with authorities without depriving about 100 million users of the popular Facebook FB 1.21% messaging service.

Moraes announced the plan after meeting with Rodrigo Maia, the speaker of the lower house, to discuss the issue Tuesday, Estado said.

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Brazilian judge lifts suspension of WhatsApp

Vinod Sreeharsha – The New York Times, 05/03/2016

RIO DE JANEIRO — A judge lifted the nationwide suspension of WhatsApp in Brazil on Tuesday, allowing the popular messaging service owned byFacebook to get up and running again.

The ruling, from Judge Ricardo Múcio Santana de Abreu Lima, overturned a lower court order that had led to WhatsApp being blocked on Monday afternoon. The suspension was supposed to last 72 hours.

Judge Múcio is one of 13 judges on the higher court in the northeastern state of Sergipe, where WhatsApp has become embroiled in an organized crime and drug trafficking case. Authorities are seeking information for the case from the messaging service, but WhatsApp has not complied with requests for data, leading to the court order on Monday.

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WhatsApp Blocked in Brazil as Judge Seeks Data

Vinod Sreeharsha – The New York Times, 05/02/2016

WhatsApp, a messaging service owned by Facebook, was shut down in Brazil on Monday after a court order from a judge who is seeking user data from the service for a criminal investigation.

Judge Marcel Maia Montalvão ordered telecom companies operating in Brazil to suspend WhatsApp nationwide for 72 hours. As of just after midday Monday, Brazilians said they could not use the popular messaging service.

The shutdown is the latest twist in a case that has embroiled WhatsApp in legal trouble. The case, which is under seal, involves an organized crime and drug trafficking investigation in the court in Lagarto, in the northeastern state of Sergipe. The court has been seeking data from WhatsApp to aid in the investigation. Diego Dzodan, a Facebook executive, was briefly taken into custody in March for refusing to comply with orders to turn over WhatsApp information in the case.

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Brazilian police arrest Facebook’s Latin America vice-president

The Guardian, 03/01/2016

Police in São Paulo say they have arrested the vice-president of Facebook in Latin America.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the police said that Diego Dzodan, an Argentinian, was arrested on an order from a judge in the north-eastern state of Sergipe. Dzodan is accused of ignoring a judicial order in a secret investigation involving organized crime and drug trafficking.

In december, a Brazilian judge blocked the popular WhatsApp messaging service owned by Facebook because it refused to give user information to police.

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Brazil’s Digital Backlash

Robert Muggah, Nathan B. Thompson, The New York Times, 01/12/2016

A São Paulo judge sent shock waves across Brazil last month with a ruling that required Brazilian telecommunications operators to block the use of the instant messaging platform WhatsApp for 48 hours. Less than 13 hours later, another São Paulo judge reversed the decision, restoring service. But in the meantime, as many as 100 million Brazilians had been seriously inconvenienced, and civil libertarians around the world looked on with dismay.

Brazilians take their social media very seriously. The country has one of the fastest growing populations of Internet users in the world. Online tools like Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp are used not only to express opinions; they are an affordable alternative to exorbitantly priced Brazilian telecom providers. One recent study in Brazil found that WhatsApp was used by 93 percent of those surveyed who had Internet access.

The official reason for the judge’s decision to suspend WhatsApp was because its parent company, Facebook, refused to comply with requests to provide personal information and communications records to prosecutors in an investigation into organized crime and drug trafficking. This is not the first time that the Brazilian authorities have jousted with tech companies. Notwithstanding the seriousness of the crimes being investigated, the judge’s action was reckless and represents a potentially longer-term threat to the freedoms of Brazilians.

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Mark Zuckerberg meets with Brazil’s president at the 7th Summit of the America’s, in Panama

Anderson Antunes – Forbes, 04/11/2015

Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff met Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg on Friday during the 7th Summit of the Americas, which is being held in Panama City. A picture of the meeting was released by Brazil’s Presidency press office. The image shows the politician side by side with Zuckerberg, wearing a jersey that contains Facebook’s logo and Brazil’s flag, given to Rousseff by the billionaire.

The meeting took place just a few days after the launch of a new program by Brazil’s government aiming to tackle cyber security and human rights violations on the Internet in cooperation with a private initiative. Facebook is among companies teaming up with the South American nation on the program through its Internet.org non-profit organization, set to launch at the summit. Internet.org aims to bring connectivity to everybody, particularly to low-income communities that have traditionally been deprived of the technology.

 

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New data storage demands may put companies off Brazil

Angelica Mari – Brazil Tech, 11/04/2013

As politicians get ready to vote Brazil’s first set of rules to govern the internet, the country’s IT trade body Brasscom warned that the regulations may hurt the local economy in many ways.

According to Brasscom, the mandatory local data storage provisions of the Marco Civil da Internet, due to be voted by the House of Representatives tomorrow, will mean an increase in costs incurred by local IT companies and prompt these firms to move their operations elsewhere.

Companies such as Facebook and Google have already expressed concern about the upcoming laws.

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Brazil to insist on local Internet data storage after U.S. spying

Esteban Israel & Anthony Boadle – Reuters, 10/28/2013

Brazil, seeking to shield its citizens from alleged U.S. spying, is pushing ahead with its plan to force global Internet companies to store data obtained from Brazilian users inside the country, according to a draft of the law seen by Reuters.

Despite opposition from multinational software, hardware and telecommunications companies, President Dilma Rousseff is pressing lawmakers to vote as early as this week on the law, sparked by disclosures of widespread U.S. spying on Brazilian telecommunications data.

If passed, the new law could impact the way Google, Facebook, Twitter and other Internet giants operate in Latin America’s biggest country and one of the largest telecommunications markets in the world.

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