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Brazil Suspends Telegram Over Refusal to Hand Over Personal, Financial Details of Alleged Neo-Nazis

Leo Timm
Leo Timm covers China-related news, culture, and history. Follow him on Twitter at @kunlunpeaks
Published: April 27, 2023
Instant messenger service Telegram has announced that it will intensify the development of anti-censorship technologies. (Image: via pixabay / CC0 1.0)

An order by a Brazilian judge has temporarily suspended the rights of privacy-focused social networking app Telegram to operate in Brazil, citing the company’s failure to provide enough personal information about users active in “neo-Nazi” groups.

Judge Wellington Lopes da Silvia, of the 1st Federal Court of Linhares, handed down the decision, which includes a daily fine, on April 26 after Telegram did not send investigators the requested data.

Da Silvia had asked Telegram for information about the users in an “anti-Semitic channel” as well as a chat with similar content “propagating neo-Nazi concepts and symbols,” according to the state-run Agência Brasil. The requested information included personal data, such as addresses and bank accounts.

However, while Telegram provided information about one group and its administrator within the required timeframe, the judge decided that this fell short of his request and handed down the order.

Brazil’s Federal Police (PF) have requested that the country’s telecommunications firms and cell phone carriers immediately comply with da Silvia’s order and restrict downloads and use of Telegram on their services.

Telegram will also be subject to either a fine of R$1 million (US$200,000) per day that it does not turn over the requested data, or 5 percent of the company’s 2022 revenue in Brazil, whichever is smaller.