The Science of Super Bowl Spending — and ID Theft

Economics has been called an imperfect science by some of its critics, and differing conclusions about the benefits of the recent Super Bowl to the local economy may show that the field does still lack the precision regularly used by, say, astrophysicists.

According to a CNBC article about the Glendale, Arizona-hosted event, its “economic impact on the city is still being determined.”

This is because the numbers that NFL, and non-NFL economists come up with differ rather profoundly. The Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee’s own study, based on the previous hosting of the 2008 championship, estimated that the big Bowl “brought in about $500 million to the city…by considering car and hotel room rentals as well as number of people travelling to the contest by plane, among other variables.”

On the wildly differing other hand, however, “Victor Matheson, a College of the Holy Cross economist who focuses on sports economics, said non-NFL economists estimate this Super Bowl’s economic impact to be around $30 million..the disparity between both estimates consists of several factors. Non-NFL economists do not take into account local spending when calculating the event’s economic impact on the host city because they say local spending would have been there anyway.”

According to Matheson and others, it will be at least 30 days before we know the true scope of the Super Bowl’s largesse for its host city. The article does point that unlike Olympic hosting, however, NFL Championship host cities at least use venues — football stadiums — that can easily be used again when the event is over.

Other science making the news this week, however, shows that whether one travels or stays local for the Super Bowl — or any other event — it doesn’t take much for your identity to be hacked, if you’re not careful about your personal information.

Science Daily summarizes a rather alarming study from MIT, which states “just four vague pieces of info can identify you, and your credit card.”

Which four? Well, unfortunately  “the dates and locations of four purchases — are enough to identify 90 percent of the people in a data set recording three months of credit-card transactions by 1.1 million users. If someone had copies of just three of your recent receipts — or one receipt, one Instagram photo of you having coffee with friends, and one tweet about the phone you just bought — would have a 94 percent chance of extracting your credit card records from those of a million other people. This is true, the researchers say, even in cases where no one in the data set is identified by name, address, credit card number, or anything else that we typically think of as personal information.”

The study, it’s noted “comes roughly two years after an earlier analysis of mobile-phone records that yielded very similar results.”

You can click on the story itself to see how Metadata is used to specifically identify individuals. Remedies may exist in the future, as the article adds that some of these same researchers are “begun developing a system that would enable people to store the data generated by their mobile devices on secure servers of their own choosing.”

Meanwhile, make sure the servers that you’ve chosen for your business — and you and your customers’ data — remain secure, along with the rest of your on and offline networks. Contact your AVPS rep for more information about I Spy Fraud Protection, and more, whether you’re processing portable, or online, or at the other end of a terminal.

Regardless of how a Super Bowl affects its own host community, those things are critical to your personal economy, and that of your business!

We’ll see you one week closer to Valentine’s Day!

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