The decision by a criminal court in the Brazilian city of Sao Bernardo do Campo to close the application WhatsApp for 48 hours by a judicial inquiry had global repercussions. According to the newspaper O Estado de São Paulo, the court ordered the closure because the Internet company refused to provide contact details of members of the First Command of the Capital (PCC), the gruesome drug gang that controls much of the traffic drug and network state prisons. Surely WhatsApp should have been more responsible and obeyed the court decision. But leaving 100 million users without an application that has thousands of applications in all areas of social and economic life is overkill.
The use and abuse of preventive action, unfortunately, is nothing extraordinary in the South American country. A few years ago, another court tried to close the YouTube video page to the refusal of the latter to delete a video (filmed in Spain) showing a Brazilian actress on a beach. In 2013, the reopening of Rio's Maracana stadium, to be held in a friendly between the national teams of Brazil and England, almost not carried out by order of a tax court. Decisions like this suggest that within the Brazilian judiciary there are many officials who subscribe to the maxim of Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I: Fiat iustitia et pereat Mundus; let justice be done and the world perish.
But the implications go far beyond the anecdotal: there are hundreds of public works, some with huge investments, paralyzed indefinitely by a court decision. Many of the promised transport infrastructure for the 2014 World Cup and Olympics coming year have been subject to a precautionary resource that has delayed its implementation. It can be said without fear that the possibility of a trial judge in a provincial town can stop a stroke an effort of thousands of people and millions of euros is not the best incentive for an international investor who has, as a primary requirement a solid legal certainty. And that can never be good news for a country much-needed investment in infrastructure.
It is true that accelerated as the São Bernardo court decisions can be reversed just as quickly by the intervention of another judge, as has been the case. But this kind of confusion only reinforce the feeling that the law in the South American country runs close to arbitrariness. The justice has so many instruments in its power to intervene when necessary speaks highly of Brazil as a society; in fact, the decision of the court of São Bernardo do Campo is based on the Civil Marco Internet, one of the most advanced legislation in the world in terms of regulation of the Internet. But a true rule of law requires that power be exercised responsibility.