Monday, September 25, 2023

Brazilian court orders Apple and Google to block Telegram

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Brazilian Supreme Court judge Alexandre de Moraes has ordered Apple and Google to help block access to the Telegram messaging app in the country. according to Reuters† The sealed injunction, issued today, demands that Brazilian telecommunications agency Anatel officially suspend Telegram until it complies with local orders and pays a series of fines. The news follows allegations made by Telegram couldn’t stop users from spreading misinformation because it has become a communication center for President Jair Bolsonaro.

Brazilian authorities threatened to suspend Telegram earlier this year, saying it had not responded to requests to fight false election information. Telegram responded in February by removing three channels by US-based Brazilian blogger Allan dos Santos, a Bolosnaro supporter, for allegedly spreading disinformation and inciting violence. However, according to an Associated Press Description of today’s order, Moraes said the company was not cooperating with authorities. The order apparently gives Apple, Google and local phone companies five days to block Telegram, while Anatel has 24 hours to implement an official suspension.

Google spokesperson Frederico Cursino confirmed that The edge via email that the company had “received an injunction from the Supreme Court regarding the Telegram messaging app in Brazil,” but “as the case is closed, we will not comment.” Apple and Telegram did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Telegram finds itself in crossfire between the Supreme Court and Bolsonaro, whom the court is investigating allegedly leaking police documents and make comments that falsely link AIDS to the COVID-19 vaccine. (Bolsonaro, in turn, has called Moraes’ deposition.) But the app has criticized elsewhere for providing a haven for far-right political figures to post false information and hate speech to prevent deplatforming from services like Facebook and Twitter, part of Telegram’s commitment to deny government censorship demands. It has been banned in Russia for refusing to share encryption keys in counterterrorism investigations, although that ban was lifted in 2020. Meanwhile, the Brazilian legal system has previously ordered blocks from Telegram competitor WhatsApp, but the bans turned out to be short-lived

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