WhatsApp block
WhatsApp, an app used by 93 percent of Brazilian Internet users, was blocked briefly after a São Paulo court decision. Reuters/Nacho Doce

A Brazilian court has reversed the suspension of WhatsApp, less than 24 hours after a lower court imposed a national blackout on the encrypted messaging service. The reversal comes after a São Paulo court judge decried WhatsApp for refusing to comply with an order related to a drug trafficking trial in July.

Service was restored Thursday morning after a São Paulo court granted an injunction ordering telecommunication companies to continue the service.

“We will comply with the order to lock and unlock,” Eduardo Levy, president of the telecommunications operator SindiTelebrasil, told G1 Globo News.

Tens of millions of Brazilians, 93 percent of the country’s internet users, use WhatsApp, a free application that enables them to message and call friends, avoid expensive phone bills and keep in touch with relatives abroad. Last year the company, owned by Facebook, activated end-to-end encryption, a secure way of encoding messages so only the sender and intended recipient can view the text. Even WhatsApp would be unable to crack the code if compelled by a court order.

A judge in the First Criminal Court of São Bernardo do Campo ruled Wednesday that, due to the company’s unwillingness or inability to provide information on a drug case, all telecommunication companies in the country would be forced to block access to WhatsApp for 48 hours. The decision prompted an immediate backlash, with users flocking to the similarly encrypted Telegram and prompting Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to call it “a sad day for Brazil.”

The reaction to the reversal was no less passionate. Twitter erupted in cries of "WhatsApp Voltou!" which translates roughly to "WhatsApp came back!" or "WhatsApp returned."