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One result of Mark Zuckerberg’s recent testimony in the US Congress has been a rash of speculation that Washington is finally going to get serious about regulating big tech companies. The prime targets would be the industry leaders known as the Faangs — Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google.

But, writes Rana Foroohar in her column, the kinds of regulatory fixes being proposed will hardly begin to address the magnitude of the problem: how should people’s data be gathered, handled, bought and sold. Even Europe’s new general data protection regulations (GDPR), which go much further to protecting individual privacy than most of the measures being discussed in the US, are skirting the issue.

We now live in a world in which data is the most valuable commodity, says Rana. Accepting this means completely rethinking both its potential to transform every industry and finding the right balance between economic competitiveness and social responsibility. Success will require the participation of governments, experts from a wide range of disciplines and industry itself — and it is going to take time.

Eurozone blues: The past week has brought two troubling pieces of news for the health of the single currency area, warns Wolfgang Münchau. First, a meeting between Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron confirmed that the two leaders have very different ideas about the future. It now seems certain that Germany will not agree to a central eurozone budget, nor a common deposit insurance to weather macroeconomic shocks. Second, a sudden decline in eurozone economic activity means another downturn is not unthinkable. That data could be a fluke; if not, the combination could be lethal.

Immigration by numbers: The UK government’s obsession with a target of reducing net immigration to less than 100,000 people a year is to blame for the painful treatment endured by the Windrush generation, argues Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general of the UK employers’ organisation, the CBI. The target should be scrapped and the system made simpler and faster. Most importantly, applicants should be assessed on their potential to make the UK a more prosperous place, bringing vital skills and tax revenue to support public services.

Tit-for-tat on trade: Maurice Obstfeld, economic counsellor to the IMF, likens the Trump administration’s efforts to target specific trade deficits with other countries to playing a game of whack-a-mole. In a connected global trading economy, cutting a deficit with one country just means another one pops up somewhere else. The worst outcome of this foolish approach is to stoke trade wars, in which the only victories are Pyrrhic.

Best of the rest

The soundtrack to London’s murders — Sam Knight in the New Yorker

India’s vicious patriarchy — Supriya Nair in the Atlantic

Trump doesn’t care about Syria – what the White House really wants is war with Iran — Mehdi Hassan in the New Statesman

Macron takes a risk in courting Trump, but has little to show for it — Alyssa J Rubin and Adam Nossiter

Britain, headquarters of fraud — Oliver Bullough in the Observer

What you’ve been saying

Brexit poses threat to Good Friday Agreement — letter from Christopher McCrudden

The truth is that the agreement was, and remains, of fundamental importance in securing parity of esteem between the two traditions. All this is, no doubt, an inconvenient truth for those who would like to airbrush Northern Ireland’s recent history before the agreement, a history in which such parity was absent. [Erroneous characterizations of the agreement] would hardly be worth correcting were it not for the fact they feed a narrative calculated to undermine the importance of an agreement that is proving a major difficulty in the Brexit negotiations.

Comment from A Corbynista on Donald Trump should avoid a North Korean summit

For Koreans, I dare say that the possibility of peace after nearly 70 years of hostility and the possibility of improvement of the living standard for the people of North Korea, closer cooperation and greater opportunity for cross border travels for the people of North and South Korea outweigh the reduction of US influence in Asia or even tolerating a nuclear capable North Korea.

Economic imbalance is driving weaker EU states to extremes — letter from Giles Conway-Gordon

The reforms proposed may create a theoretically coherent financial structure for the eurozone but they will at best simply prolong the present official policy of successive financial bailouts for the uncompetitive economies.

Today’s opinion

Regulating Facebook merely nips at the edge of a bigger problem
Consumers are under surveillance in ways we have just begun to grapple with

FT View: A toxic mix for the US of Latin American populists and socialists
Antagonism of southern neighbours threatens Trump’s home agenda

Targeting specific trade deficits is a game of whack-a-mole
It is a fallacy that countries lose out unless their exports exceed their imports

FT View: Stop our oceans choking on a plastic overdose
Governments and companies must act globally to clean up the seas

Is the US headed for a public debt crisis?
Unsustainable borrowing may cause a clash with the Fed, but not a solvency crisis

Eurozone downturn and lack of reform presage existential crisis
A slowdown mixed with a monetary union unwilling to repair itself would be a risk to the global economy

FT View

FT View: A toxic mix for the US of Latin American populists and socialists
Antagonism of southern neighbours threatens Trump’s home agenda

FT View: Stop our oceans choking on a plastic overdose
Governments and companies must act globally to clean up the seas

The Big Read

The Big Read: European telecoms: crossed wires over Vodafone-Liberty deal
The planned tie-up could create a champion to compete with US and Chinese behemoths, but it faces fierce opposition in Germany

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