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Justice Fachin convokes public hearing to discuss WhatsApp legal blocks

Justice Edson Fachin of the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court (STF) has convoked a public audience on a date yet to be determined to discuss the blocking of the WhatsApp application by court decisions in Brazil. The issue reached the STF through Claim of Breach of Fundamental Precept(ADPF 403), filed by the Popular Socialist Political Party (PPS). The lawsuit questions the constitutionality of the judicial blocks of the application.

The PPS alleges that the suspension of services violates the fundamental precept of freedom of expression and communication, provided for in article 5, item IX, of the Federal Constitution and also in Law 12.965 / 2014, known as the Civil Internet Framework.

The lawsuit was filed in July of this year to question the decisition of the judge of the Criminal Court of Lagarto(SE) that blocked the application. On July 19, the political party reiterated the request for a preliminary injuction in the ADPF, this time against a decision of the judge of the 2nd Criminal Court of Duque de Caxias (RJ).

As the request arrived at the STF during the forensic recess, the injunction was granted by the then president of the Court, minister Ricardo Lewandowski. Now, to instruct the trial of the action, Justice Edson Fachin (rapporteur) decided to convokes the public audience."In view of the relevant public interest in the controversy, I granted the parties, the amici curiae “friends of the court” and other interested parties a statement about the usefulness and necessity of holding a public hearing in ambit of this Court," Fachin said.
Therefore, governmental, non-governmental entities, experts in the field and representatives of civil society interested in the audience must request participation by electronic address, until November 25, 2016.

When calling the hearing, the Justice elaborated four questions that should be answered by those who are qualified to participate. Such issues address how the system of encryption used by WhatsApp works, until the ways to intercept, disable, or use encryption on other platforms.

The request for participation must contain the qualification of the organ, entity or specialist, as the case may be; The exhibitor's indication, accompanied by a brief curriculum of up to two pages; And the summary of positions to be defended at the public hearing.

Participants will be selected, among others, by the following criteria: representativeness, technical expertise and expertise of the exhibitor or the interested entity and guarantee of the plurality of the composition of the audience and the points of view to be defended.

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