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WhatsApp has not gone down but decision could have been enforced by carriers

To the nation’s general relief, WhatsApp didn’t go down. Judge Luiz de Moura Correia’s decision to suspend the application was overturned by Judge Raimundo Nonato Alencar on Thursday (26).

In the judge’s assessment, the act of punishing the application was unreasonable as the suspension would affect millions of people in favor of a local investigation.

Although it sounds exaggerated, the warrant could be fulfilled by operators, clarifies expert Francisco Brito Cruz, director of the Internet Lab, technology law research center.

“Many people wonder if WhatsApp could be suspended as it is an application installed on the user’s smartphone,” he explains. “But carriers can block users from accessing the app.”

He says that it is as if the operator, or any telecommunications company, turned off a key: it blocks the WhatsApp server, making it impossible for the user to send and receive messages in the application.

“For someone to be able to send a message, it has to go through the server of the company providing the internet, be it Vivo for mobile data or NET for Wi-Fi and the WhatsApp server. The idea is for carriers to block access to application servers. ”

Francisco estimates that for the application to effectively go offline, all Internet operators in Brazil would have to block access. “People typically use more than one carrier to access the Internet. If only one blocks the app, users can continue to access it through the others.”

The expert points out that this case is different from what happened with the Secret app, which was forbidden to download last year. In this case, the court prohibited app stores, such as the Apple Store and Google Play, from making Secret available. Now, what the judge asked was the suspension of WhatsApp already installed on mobile phones.

In addition, the warrant was legal. “According to the Marco Civil da Internet, all companies that collect, store, handle records and communications at any point of the operation if they occur in the national territory [WhatsApp situation] have to respect the Brazilian laws. And in view of that one of the sanctions of Article 12, which provides for the suspension of traffic-related activities in breach of national law, was a legal decision. ”

Francisco considers, however, that there are several interpretations of the law and, in any case, the decision was disproportionate. “What amazed that warrant was the extent of the action.”

“The judge did not think about the economic impact of this decision. The procedure is complex, but would be very costly for companies,” adds the entrepreneur, lawyer and vice president of Aerbras (Association of Radiocommunication Companies of Brazil), Dane Avanzi.

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