WhatsApp has already been blocked a total of three times in Brazil since December for failing to comply with a court order asking the company to access WhatsApp data under criminal investigation.
So now the Brazilian government has taken an even tougher step by freezing $11.7 Million of Facebook funds. The public federal prosecutor in the Brazilian state of Amazon as said the court froze 38 Million real (US $11.7 Million) of funds held in Facebook’s bank account, Reuters reports.
The decision to freeze Facebook funds was made after the social media giant failed to comply with the court order to hand over data of WhatsApp users who are under criminal investigation, said the prosecutor.
Since WhatsApp communications are end-to-end encrypted even the company would not be able to access any message exchanged between users. The court case between the Brazilian government and Facebook has been long-running now.
Last week a judge in Rio de Janeiro ordered local operators to suspend service to WhatsApp across the country until Facebook complied with an order to turn over information regarding a criminal process in the greater Rio area. On the same day, Supreme Court President Ricardo Lewandowski ordered the service re-established.