Telegram is about to be blocked in Brazil, government will fine VPN users in $20,000

Minister Alexandre de Moraes, of Brazilian’s Federal Supreme Court, determined this Friday (18) to block Telegram throughout the national territory. Because of this, the country’s internet providers must adopt measures to make it impossible for users to access the application.

The decision comes due to a “non-collaborative” attitude with authorities

According to local media outlets, the minister is answering a request from the Federal Police. The authority reported that the app is “famously known for its stance of not cooperating with judicial and police authorities. Moreover, it puts this non-collaborative attitude as an advantage over other communication applications. Therefore, it makes it a free space for the proliferation of various contents. This content includes repercussions in the criminal area”. Apparently, for Brazil, Telegram has the potential to be a “deep web” forum in the surface.

In the decision to block the app, the minister cites the lack of cooperation of Telegram leaders and says that the stance shows “total contempt for Brazilian Justice”. The country’s internet operators are already being notified by the National Telecommunications Agency (Anatel) and if the decision is not complied with, a daily fine of R$ 100,000 has been established.

The blocking request comes as a response to multiple requests to ban profiles that spread fake news on the network. One of the most notorious cases involves blogger Allan dos Santos, who already had a determination to be banned from the platform.

Telegram Brazil
Activist Allan dos Santos

At the end of February, Minister Alexandre de Moraes had already threatened to ban the app from operating for 48 hours throughout the national territory if those responsible for the software did not meet the legal demands. Telegram even banned accounts linked to Allan, preventing the suspension of services. However, a few days later the blogger returned using other channels on the service. The STF stated that Allan is “one of those investigated on suspicion of leading a digital militia funding scheme in Brazil”.

Telegram’s side

In a note to TecMundo, Telegram’s CEO apologized to the STF. More than that, he promises a legal representative in Brazil. The company asked for “a few days” so that it can remedy the situation. The letter comes straight from Pavel Durov, CEO and founder of the platform. According to him, this is just a failure in communication. Apparently, Brazil is sending requests to a “generic” e-mail.

The government is even threatening those considering VPN or Proxies to bypass the restrictions. Furthermore, as per the legal decision, it may apply a fine of around BRL 100,000 which comes around USD 20,000.

In the latest development, the minister has given Telegram 24 hours to fix the issues and comply with the authorities.

Telegram currently figures as one of the most relevant messaging apps. More than that, the app is almost a social media network with channels, groups, and bots full of rich content. On Play Store, the number of downloads of the platform currently exceeds 1 billion. Back in the last year, the app saw significant growth during the Facebook outage.

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