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WhatsApp back in Brazil as judge lifts suspension

A higher court overturns a three-day ban of the popular Facebook-owned messaging app.

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SAN ANSELMO, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 06: In this photo illustration, the WhatsApp application is displayed on a iPhone on April 6, 2016 in San Anselmo, California. Facebook-owned mobile mobile messaging application WhatsApp announced that it has completed end-to-end encryption of of all communication and data shared on the app. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

WhatsApp is on again in Brazil.

A nationwide three-day blackout of the popular Facebook-owned messaging app was overturned on Tuesday by Judge Ricardo Múcio Santana de Abreu Lima, reported The New York Times. A lower court judge ordered the ban after the company failed to comply with a court order to turn over data tied to a criminal investigation.

"Thankfully, WhatsApp is now back online," wrote WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum in a Facebook post Tuesday. "We have no intention of compromising people's security and we hope those impacted by this decision join us in making their voices heard in support of an open and secure Internet. The last thing we want is to see WhatsApp blocked again."

This may not signal a total victory for WhatsApp. The decision to lift the ban was based on process rather than the merits of the original case, a court spokesman told the Times.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also heralded the app's return in a Facebook post Tuesday. He encouraged Brazilians to attend an event to introduce laws that prevent orders blocking Internet services like WhatsApp.

WhatsApp, which Facebook bought in 2014 for $19 billion, has clashed with authorities before in Brazil. In December, a judge ordered the shutdown of the app for the country for two days after its makers failed to comply with a criminal investigation, but the ruling was overturned the next day. In March, a Facebook executive was jailed for not turning over information from a WhatsApp account linked to a drug trafficking investigation. He was released the next day.

WhatsApp did not immediately respond to a request for additional comment.