RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP) — Internet providers and wireless service providers in Brazil stopped blocking Telegram on Saturday after a federal judge partially revised a ruling suspending the communications app. this society for not providing data on neo-Nazi activity.
However, the judge upheld the daily fine of 1 million reais (about $200,000) for Telegram’s refusal to release the data, according to the press release of the federal court that ruled.
A complete suspension “is unreasonable, given the wide-ranging impact across the nation’s territory on the freedom of communication of thousands of people who are completely strangers to the facts under investigation,” Judge Flavio said. Lucas is quoted in the statement.
Telegram has been temporarily suspended following a police investigation into a school shooting in November, when a former student armed with a semi-automatic pistol and wearing a bulletproof vest shot dead and wounded three people. 13 people after storming into two schools in the small town of Aracruz in Espirito, Santo state.
The court statement said the 16-year-old was believed to be a member of extremist channels on Telegram, which disseminated instructions on murder and bomb-making.
The federal police ordered Telegram to provide details of the channel members’ names, tax identification numbers, profile pictures, banking and credit card information, and later denied the claims of the channel members. Telegram that it was unable to comply because the channel was suspended, the court statement said.
Telegram founder and CEO Pavel Durov said in a statement on Thursday that the company is appealing the Brazil-wide ban issued the day before, claiming compliance is “receivably impossible.” technology” and argued that Telegram’s mission is to protect privacy and freedom of expression.
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The company said in an online FAQ that it has never shared data about users with any government.
It is not clear how much data Telegram can provide. Only a phone number is required to create a Telegram account and a pseudonym is used frequently. Furthermore, starting in December, Telegram offers the option to create an account with an anonymous number.
The court statement noted “Telegram’s past clashes with judicial authorities” in Brazil. Last year, Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes ordered the nationwide shutdown of Telegram, arguing that it had failed to cooperate with the authorities. It lasted two days and was lifted after Durov blamed his company’s initial lack of response on a communication problem.
“Tech companies need to understand that cyberspace cannot be a free territory, another world…with its own rules created and managed by agents who exploit it for commercial purposes, ‘ Lucas, the judge in the current case, said in Saturday’s statement.
Brazil is grappling with a wave of attacks on schools. There have been nearly two dozen incidents of assault or violence in schools since 2000, half of them in the past 12 months, including the murder of four children at a day care center. on April 5.
Brazil’s federal government has tried to stamp out school violence, with a particular focus on the influence of social media. The goal is to prevent further incidents, especially by holding platforms accountable for not removing content that allegedly incites violence.
Regulation of social media platforms was a recurring theme earlier this month when President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva met with Cabinet ministers, Supreme Court justices, governors and mayors .
Previously, Telegram was blocked by other governments, including Iran, China, and Russia.
Durov, a native of Russia whose company is based in the United Arab Emirates, has managed to co-exist with the Kremlin despite the suppression of Western speech and media following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. last year.
So-called “patriotic” hackers loyal to the Kremlin use the app to organize cyberattacks on Ukrainian and NATO targets. The other side uses it to fight back.
Security researchers and intelligence agencies regularly monitor certain Telegram groups, focusing on ransomware and other cybercriminal gangs, disinformation providers, terrorist groups, and others. Other groups incite violence.
Boston-based AP Technology writer Frank Bajak contributed to this report.
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