© Matt Kenyon
Experimental feature

Listen to this article

00:00
00:00
Experimental feature

This article is from today’s FT Opinion email. Sign up to receive a daily digest of the big issues straight to your inbox.

Law and order was once the preserve of the government and public sector agencies. But as Rana Foroohar writes in this week's column, the age of mass data collection is increasingly pulling private sector companies into the process of crime fighting and intelligence gathering.

This has civil society groups seriously worried — with particular fears about the use of algorithms to "predict" where crimes might occur and by whom, because they tend to replicate and even increase bias against minority groups. One study quoted by Rana found that big data had fundamentally changed the nature of policing, making it less about reacting to crime and more about mass surveillance.

In the US, the Supreme Court is still to rule on how much of some categories of data companies should be required to hand over if the law enforcement authorities request it. Meanwhile, the heads of many businesses are starting to wonder if they really want to be holding some of this information — it could become "too hot to handle," Rana explains.

The dollar outclasses the euro
Wolfgang Munchau explores the mistakes made by the European single currency's founders, in refusing to choose a path that could make it a true challenger to the dollar. Now US sanctions and tariffs are exposing the lack of weapons in the EU's arsenal because of these original flaws in creating the euro and the eurozone.

Central banking buzzword
Richard Barwell of BNP Paribas argues that there is "loose talk" about allowing a period of inflation that overshoots central bank targets because it provides symmetry (the new buzzword) with the previous pattern of undershooting the targets. But this is effectively setting a new temporary mandate, he points out, which raises awkward questions about accountability and transparency.

Money talks
David Lammy, the Labour MP, writes that alumni who donate to Oxford university should scrutinise the moves their old colleges are making to ferret out talented applicants from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds. A former student at Harvard, he thinks the UK's elite universities should learn from the Ivy League on access and scholarship programmes — not least because an Oxford degree can be a route to the top of politics.

Best of the rest

It will cost serious money to give the NHS a decent birthday present — Andrew Rawnsley in the Observer

North Korea wants to end up like Pakistan not Libya — Dominic Tierney in The Attlantic

Trump cancels, China wins — Bill Emmott for Project Syndicate

What you've been saying

Athenase comment on John Thornhill's GDPR is a start but not enough to protect privacy on its own

'The US has never been a police state which arbitrarily spies and arrests people on the hint of a suspicion. For this reason, it cannot understand just how dangerous the tools it has invented can be in the wrong hands. In Europe, many can remember times when “wrong hands” were in control.'

Larchmont comment on Martin Wolf's Italy's new rulers could shake the euro

'It's a truism to say that Italy didn't undertake the sort of radical reform that might have created a different outcome in the eurozone, but then again that surely is the tale of all the PIIGS and even countries like France. The real issue is that Italy should never have joined the eurozone in the first place. It was obviously not ready but eurozone imperial ambition colluded with Italian ego to fudge the application.'

Today's opinion

Central banks’ loose talk about ‘symmetry’ can be dangerous
After an under-shoot, policymakers are meant to bring inflation back to target

Small Talk — Companies: The Jabberwocky world of bitcoin
Clear Leisure, a minnow with a technicolour history, is digging into cryptocurrency mining

When will the US Fed stop tightening?
The FOMC is not raising its estimate of equilibrium rates despite the fiscal stimulus

Inside Business: A transatlantic gulf is opening in banker pay
The US is humming while Europe remuneration is set to slide

The euro must be made more robust to rival the dollar
US sanctions expose the mistakes made by the founders of the single currency

The surge is over — why $50 oil is now more likely than $100
Hedge funds convinced themselves that they understood market fundamentals better than the professionals

Companies are the cops in our modern-day dystopia
The private sector is being pulled more deeply into the business of crime fighting

FT View

FT View: The eurozone needs an open dialogue with Italy
The country’s new government will create huge challenges for Europe

FT View: After Ireland’s abortion vote the North should be next
A welcome victory that shows how much the Republic has changed

The Big Read

The Big Read: Why India’s new bankruptcy law is reshaping big business
Fresh insolvency rules are designed to redraft the rules of capitalism but are becoming bogged down in legal challenges

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2018. All rights reserved.