WhatsApp’s problems in Brazil continue as service is banned for 72 hours

Popular app Whatsapp has been banned in Brazil for 72 hours, after the instant messaging app failed to comply with authorities, CNBC reports.

A local judge from Lagarto, a small town in the southeastern part of the country, ordered cellphone carriers across the country to block the app for three days or face fines of approximately $140,000 per day, according to media reports, after the Facebook-owned app refused to hand over messages as part of an ongoing drug investigation. The ban came into effect on Monday at 2 p.m. local time.

Whatsapp has over 100 million Brazilian users. CEO Jan Koum posted on his Facebook page:

"Yet again millions of innocent Brazilians are being punished because a court wants WhatsApp to turn over information we repeatedly said we don't have. Not only do we encrypt messages end-to-end on WhatsApp to keep people's information safe and secure, we also don't keep your chat history on our servers. When you send an end-to-end encrypted message, no one else can read it – not even us. While we are working to get WhatsApp back up and running as soon as possible, we have no intention of compromising the security of our billion users around the world."

Whatsapp, which counts over 1 billion users worldwide, recently introduced full end-to-end encryption to its service, thus making the recipient the only person able see the message they receive.

This is the second time the app has been blocked in Brazil in just six months; it was banned in December for 48 hours after failing to cooperate in a criminal investigation, reported Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo.