Vietnam’s New Cybersecurity Law: Consumer Protection or Blatant Censorship?

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As countries around the world continue to adjust to the difficulties of managing the internet and ensuring cybersecurity, Vietnam has made waves with its new cybersecurity law (“Cybersecurity Law”) that some have deemed “Stalinist” and “totalitarian.” This is not Vietnam’s first foray into cracking down on anti-government speech on the internet; the government has previously shut down online newspapers for publishing “nationally divisive” content, worked with Facebook to silence reporters, and arrested bloggers for public criticism.

New FATCA Proposed Regulations Ease Burden on Foreign Financial Institutions

New FATCA Proposed Regulations Ease Burden on Foreign Financial Institutions

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The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (“FATCA”) was enacted in 2010 in order to identify foreign financial accounts held by U.S. citizens and make it more difficult for Americans to hide assets in offshore accounts. FATCA, which was implemented as a part of the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act, requires foreign financial institutions to search their records for any U.S. citizen and report the assets and identities of such persons to the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Although FATCA is not without problems, its goal of lessening tax evasion through offshore accounts is an important one that requires support from all sides. Even if FATCA’s future is unclear, the proposed regulations show a willingness on the part of the IRS to work with foreign financial institutions to find a more adequate solution.

New Rules for Asylum Seekers

New Rules for Asylum Seekers

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The U.S. has sent about 8,000 troops to the U.S.-Mexico border in response to the migrant caravan traversing Central America. The executive branch has also made various changes to the U.S. asylum process, restricting asylum to those who apply at a legal port of entry. While troops so far have primarily been employed to reinforce official ports of entry, there are also many risks facing these troops.

European Court of Human Rights Upholds Fine Against Austrian Woman: Contextualizing A Free Speech Conviction

European Court of Human Rights Upholds Fine Against Austrian Woman: Contextualizing A Free Speech Conviction

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The ECtHR recently upheld the conviction of an Austrian woman under the country’s blasphemy law for statements she made accusing the Prophet Muhammad of pedophilia. Growing global anxiety over international organizations, and the Austrian law’s tension with free speech ideologies, made the decision a ready-made launching pad for political diatribe. Despite some outcry, the ECtHR’s decision seems unlikely to spark a wave of blasphemy convictions, either in Austria or elsewhere in Europe. While Austria’s criminalization of inciting “justified indignation” may be overly broad, it is not clear that the ECtHR’s decision will embolden blasphemy law proponents, and it does not appear to reshape the legal framework currently in place.