Unit to investigate student-aid abuse

The Education Department said Monday that it was creating a student-aid enforcement unit that will “respond more quickly and efficiently to allegations of illegal actions by higher education institutions.”

Critics have complained that the government didn’t move swiftly enough to take action against for-profit schools such as Corinthian Colleges, which filed for bankruptcy protection last year amid fraud allegations, closing schools and leaving thousands of students with hefty debt and frustrated efforts at earning degrees.

“When Americans invest their time, money and effort to gain new skills, they have a right to expect they’ll actually get an education that leads to a better life for them and their families,” said Acting Education Secretary John B. King Jr. “Schools looking to cheat students and taxpayers will be held accountable.”

The new unit will investigate potential abuse and fraud. It will be led by Robert Kaye, a former Federal Trade Commission enforcement attorney.

As part of his 2017 budget, President Obama is requesting more than $13 million in additional money to strengthen enforcement and oversight of the billions of dollars in student financial grants and loans the government provides.

— Associated Press

France cracks down on Facebook tracking

The French data protection authority on Monday gave Facebook three months to stop tracking ­non-users’ Web activity without their consent and ordered the social network to stop some transfers of personal data to the United States.

The French order comes after a European Union court ruling last year struck down an agreement that had been relied on by thousands of companies, including Facebook, to avoid cumbersome E.U. data transfer rules.

The transatlantic Safe Harbour pact was ruled illegal last year amid concerns over mass U.S. government snooping. E.U. data protection authorities said firms had three months to set up alternative legal arrangements for transferring data. That deadline expired last week.

Facebook has said it has set up alternative legal structures to continue its transfers in line with E.U. law.

“Protecting the privacy of the people who use Facebook is at the heart of everything we do. We . . . look forward to engaging with the CNIL to respond to their concerns,” a spokeswoman said.

The CNIL said Facebook’s tracking of non-users by placing a cookie on their browser without informing them when they visit a Facebook page did not comply with French privacy law. It also said Facebook uses cookies that collect information for advertising without Internet users’ consent, and that Facebook users should have the option to prevent Facebook from profiling them to serve personalized ads.

— Reuters

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