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Jul 04, 2016 10:30 AM EDT

Facebook Has Its Funds Frozen In Brazil Amid WhatsApp Encrypted Data Controversy


Facebook had its funds frozen in Brazil after the local court ruled against the company over the dispute regarding the WhatsApp encryption.

The Brazilian court ruled against the social media company over its refusal to grant the Brazilian federal police access onto WhatsApp, Tech Crunch reported.

The dispute led to the court freezing the U.S. based company's funds in the Brazilian Bank, which was reportedly at around $6 million. The case was filed due to the Facebook-owned WhatsApp non-compliance with the local authorities.

The Brazilian federal police had requested an access to bypass the app's encryption to track down local criminals, as well as international drug cartels, which an investigation has been active since January, according to Reuters.

The local authorities asked the social media platform to hand over messages, along with its complete metadata, from suspected members of the international cocaine smuggling ring.

The Brazilian federal police that the data is an integral part of its investigation to pin down and prove the links between detained suspected members and their contact persons in Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia, as well as Spain.

The Brazilian court decided to freeze Facebook's bank account in Brazil, as WhatsApp has no accounts in the country. Although, the court did not cite provisions from the local Internet law, which allows the app to continue to operate within the country.

Brazil has over 100 million Brazilian WhatsApp users, whom of which experienced a 72-hour shutdown of the app early this year, but the decision was lifted after another court ruled in favor of the app.

Facebook has been quoted as saying that all WhatsApp messages are end-to-end encrypted as of April, and the messages requested by the local police were from prior to the aforementioned date, Trusted Reviews reported.

The social media giant stated that the messages prior to April wasn't stored anyway, so what's the local authorities are looking for are certainly lost. Facebook has yet to comment on the recent ruling over the dispute with the Brazilian federal police.

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