Social messaging service WhatsApp is being threatened by a nationwide ban in Brazil as a judge in the country has ruled for a temporary ban on the service. Judge Luiz de Moura Correia ordered the suspension after the messaging service declined to help in an investigation concerning the sharing of sexually explicit images of child pornography shared within the app.
Although the judge hasn't officially disclosed his reasoning behind the ruling; the case is currently ongoing, a press officer at the Piaui state’s Public Safety Department has revealed the details about how the case is related to child pornography. Judge Correia reportedly ordered WhatsApp to hand over the information that might help in the legal investigation. However, the company refused to do so as it uses end-to-end encryption techniques which means that it's practically impossible for it to simply hand over the required information.
Despite the ruling of the ban being sent out to cellphone operators in the country, WhatsApp continues to work as its lawyers have appealed against the judge's decision, which subsequently means that the company has temporarily escaped the decision.
On the other hand, SindiTelebrasil, the organization which represents Brazilian cellphone operators has issued a statement stating the ruling as "extreme and disproportionate".
Thousands of users have started jumping ship already as one of WhatsApp's competitors, Telegram tweeted:
WhatsApp has quickly risen to what is being known as the most popular social messaging service in the world. After surpassing 600 million worldwide users last August, the company was acquired by Facebook for a whopping $19 billion and has improved greatly since then. Just a few weeks ago, the company also launched a web-based version of its service.