The new regulation would limit 'the indiscriminate use of facial recognition technology' by companies and public authorities, said an official

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Brussels is considering strict limits on facial recognition technology in an attempt to stamp out surveillance of European citizens.

The European Commission is planning regulation that will give EU citizens explicit rights and limit “indiscriminate” use of facial recognition technology by companies and public authorities, senior officials told the FT.

Brussels’ initiative comes amid revelations about the use of the technology to monitor crowds in areas including London’s King’s Cross, which last week prompted an investigation from the UK’s data protection watchdog.

The move by Brussels would bolster citizens’ rights above the EU’s general data protection regulation (GDPR), which prohibits the collection of “biometric” data but has yet to lead to fines. The proposed legislation would also be part of an EU effort to craft ethical laws governing AI and “foster public trust” in facial recognition, according to one official. (FT)

In the news

Fed split over rate cut
Federal Reserve chairman Jay Powell faced divisions among US central bank officials over a one-notch interest rate cut last month, with some calling for a 50 basis point cut and others resisting any action, minutes from the Fed’s meeting ending July 31 revealed. The diversity of views on the rate-setting committee adds to the issues confronting Mr Powell ahead of the next meeting in September, when investors are expecting a new move by the central bank to cut interest rates to avert any downturn in the US economy. Who benefits politically in the US from any recession? Janan Ganesh says the left is unlikely to miss out after failing to capitalise on the last recession. Today, Thursday, we get minutes from the European Central Bank. (FT, Federal Reserve)

Debt warning
Meanwhile, the deterioration in the US fiscal outlook was driven by the budget deal enacted by Donald Trump and Democratic Speaker in the House Nancy Pelosi, according to a dire assessment of America’s fiscal position by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. The CBO said that while last month’s deal to avoid a US debt default brought relief to markets, it would increase deficits by $1.7tn over the next 10 years. (FT)

Danish discord
Donald Trump described the Danish prime minister as “nasty” after she had dismissed his notion of the US buying Greenland as an “absurd” idea. In an editorial, the FT said the US president’s decision to scrap next month’s planned visit to the Scandinavian country was a demonstration of his purely transactional foreign policy. But it also exposed a deep-seated anxiety in Copenhagen about the world’s largest island and Denmark’s Arctic strategy. Henry Mance takes a different tack: a land-swap counter offer and thanks to all the readers who voted in our latest poll. A total of 74 per cent agreed with the Danish prime minister. (FT)

Facebook’s Libra under investigation
Facebook’s new digital currency, Libra, is under scrutiny from the EU’s antitrust regulators, according to two people familiar with the matter. The European Commission has sent out questionnaires to groups involved with the Libra project as part of a preliminary information-gathering operation, amid concerns the currency could unfairly disadvantage rivals. (FT)

IMF top job
The fund’s executive board of directors on Wednesday recommended removing a longstanding age restriction that clears the way for Bulgaria’s Kristalina Georgieva to succeed Christine Lagarde. Ms Georgieva, who turned 66 last week, is currently chief executive of the World Bank. (FT)

#PrayforAmazonas
Brazil’s far-right president Jair Bolsonaro has accused non-governmental organisations of burning down the Amazon rainforest to hurt his government, as a growing global outcry against the wildfires raged through social media. #PrayforAmazonas was the world’s top trending topic on Twitter on Wednesday, and millions of people took to Instagram and Facebook to share concerns over the future of the Amazon. (Reuters)

Plan to scrap migrant detention limit
The Trump administration has unveiled plans to scrap the 20-day limit on detaining migrant families entering the US illegally, known as the Flores settlement. The White House said the rule was “outdated” and failed to take account of the “massive shift in illegal immigration to families and minors from Central America”. (FT)

North Korea threatens to call off denuclearisation talks
Pyongyang has ratcheted up its criticism of the US and South Korea in a statement on state media saying it had no interest in dialogue with its adversaries as long as they continued to make “military threats” against the communist state. Earlier this week North Korea fired two projectiles into the Sea of Japan and rejected calls for dialogue with Seoul. (FT)

The day ahead

Jackson Hole symposium opens
Monetary policymakers arrive in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, on Thursday for their annual summit amid questions about the limits of monetary policy and the threat of a global recession. Jean Boivin, global head of BlackRock Investment Institute, says it is now time for central bankers to find ways to get money more directly in the hands of entities that can spend it, including consumers. Can Jay Powell reassure markets? Market Questions weighs the Fed chair’s policy options. (FT)

Johnson and Macron meet in Paris
A day after the German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed hope for a solution “in the next 30 days” to solving the vexed Irish border issue in the Brexit talks, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will meet Emmanuel Macron. The French president ruled out renegotiating the UK’s withdrawal ahead of the meeting in Paris today and officials in his administration said the central scenario was now a no-deal Brexit. The French president also decided against a joint final communiqué at the upcoming G7 summit, citing a “crisis of democracy”. Edward Luce believes this weekend’s meeting of world leaders will be one of the most bizarre in history. (FT)

Pompeo flies to Canada
US secretary of state Mike Pompeo flies to Canada to hold talks with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ahead of this weekend’s G7 summit. The meeting comes just two months ahead of federal elections in Canada and after a government scandal has hit Mr Trudeau’s poll ratings. This piece looks at the rise and fall of the politician, dubbed the first prime minister of the Instagram age. (Guardian)

In this week’s Tech Scroll Asia, read how Apple is getting closer to using iPhone screen technology from a Chinese state company — in spite of the US-China tech war. Sign up here to get the newsletter delivered to your inbox. And don’t miss our FT News Briefing podcast — a short daily rundown of the top global stories.

What else we’re reading

Putin and the Patriarchs
Last October, Ukraine’s Orthodox church broke away from Russia’s with the blessing of its highest authority, the 79-year-old Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, triggering the greatest schism in Christianity since 1054. It was also a blow to Vladimir Putin, for whom the church symbolises Moscow’s influence. (FT)

Get a shot of inspiration each Saturday with the best in life, arts and culture — sign up here to FT Weekend

Nepal’s returning workers
Decades of political instability turned Nepal into one of the world’s most remittance-dependent economies. But as workers return home, the government is scrambling to prop up local industry that lagged behind. Read more in our FT Series: Cash Trails. (FT)

The Japanese brewer with a thirst for dealmaking
When Anheuser-Busch InBev’s plan to list its Asian beer business fell flat, Asahi stepped in. It is the third time the Japanese beer maker has bought assets from InBev, following the Belgian group’s transformative takeover of SABMiller in 2016. Since then, Asahi has had a voracious thirst for assets, buying brands including Peroni and Grolsch and turning it into a global player in the drinks industry. (FT)

The other half of German history
For the past 75 years, the German story has been one of pacifism and political stability, a fact often forgotten by British politicians and students, Tony Barber writes following a recent trip to the Bayerischer Wald, or Bavarian Forest. (FT)

Thailand’s tourism troubles
From Phuket’s old town to Chiang Mai’s temples and Bangkok’s backpacker hostels, Thailand’s visitor numbers are falling as a major driver of economic growth struggles due to China’s slowing economy, the rising Thai baht and the era of Airbnb. In the US, tourism is poised for a plunge as well, Rana Foroohar writes. (FT)

Drilling down
The Permian Basin, an oil-rich region which straddles Texas and New Mexico, has made the surrounding areas attractive locations for those chasing the US fracking boom — and this time they think it will last. (Reuters)

Belgium’s royal battle
Prince Laurent has had no shortage of spats with his own government. But his biggest grievance is a €50m payment the prince says he was promised by Muammer Gaddafi, which Belgium’s government has refused to repay from the late Libyan dictator’s frozen funds in Brussels. (Politico)

Japan’s abacus obsession
The centuries-old abacus, once a common tool of shop owners, bank tellers and accountants, is still taught in some Japanese schools and an annual national tournament draws elite competitors to tabulate head-spinning sums. This year’s winning number: 8,186,699,633,530,061. (NYT)

Podcast of the day

How Charles Koch shaped modern America 
Kochland: The Secret History of Koch Industries and Corporate Power is a book that sheds light on the way Koch Industries, led by Charles Koch, shaped modern America. Frederick Studemann, literary editor, and Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson, US business editor, discuss the story of Wichita’s power man in this podcast. (FT)

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