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Brazilian court rules against WhatsApp

July 1, 2016

Brazil's top court has frozen millions of dollars in WhatsApp's funds. The company is accused of obstructing a federal investigation related to drug trafficking.

Image: Getty Images/AFP/Y. Chiba

The Brazilian government decided on Thursday to freeze 19.5 million reals ($6.11 million) in the account of instant messaging app WhatsApp after a regional court said the company had failed to assist in a federal investigation.

Last week, the top court in the state of Parana ruled against WhatsApp after it refused to comply with authorities who wanted to see messages sent between a group of suspected drug traffickers using the app.

"Today criminals only communicate via electronic messages," said government representative Elvis Secco. "The request [by the government] was the same as that for wiretapping according to Brazilian law."

WhatsApp has run afoul of the Brazilian government in the past: In May, the government suspended the messaging service for the second time for failing to cooperate in a different drug-related case.

blc/bw (EFE, Reuters)