Author Archives: Shaun Root

Three casinos signal plans for sports betting in state

HARRISBURG –- Three casinos have now applied to offer sports betting in Pennsylvania, but none have yet been approved to do so.

Harrah’s Philadelphia applied to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board this week, following Penn National in Grantville and Parx Casino in Bensalem.

The Gaming Control Board is due to consider the petitions from Penn National and Parx Casino at a meeting next Wednesday. Penn National filed their application on Aug. 17. The Parx application was filed Aug. 24.

Under temporary rules approved by the gaming board in August, the casinos will be able to offer sports betting online or in-person at the casinos.

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A Better Alternative to Payday Loans

Using a ‘salary link,’ employers can help low-income workers get access to credit.

PHOTO: ISTOCK/GETTY IMAGES

By Todd H. Baker and Snigdha Kumar

More than 50 million Americans in low-income working families struggle to manage everyday cash flow. That means they have the resources to pay monthly bills but can’t handle small financial shocks or timing mismatches because they lack the savings buffer the more affluent take for granted. Most lack access to reasonably priced credit and can’t stretch out medical, home and auto expenses over time. The result is a damaging cycle of reliance on high-cost payday loans, auto-title loans and bank overdrafts that often leads to financial ruin. While interest groups squabble over whether more or less regulation is the answer, people suffer.

There is a solution with benefits for employers and employees. In a new working paper published from Harvard’s Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government, we show that mobile and online financial products sponsored by employers can cover a wider range of borrowers and charge them less money than those available to individuals in the market. Use of these FinTech products may also significantly reduce employee turnover and save employers millions. The key to their success is the “salary link”—meaning the money provided to employees is automatically repaid through salary deduction. Large employers can make these benefits available today without changes in law or government intervention.

 

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Why are Amazon, PayPal meeting with bank regulators?

Asked whether Amazon, which is run by CEO Jeff Bezos, should be allowed to own a bank, a former top regulator replied, “It’s a tough decision that we are going to have to make one of these days.”

 

WASHINGTON — Technology giants like Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple are showing an increasing interest in engaging with federal banking regulators, a move that underscores Silicon Valley’s growing involvement in the financial services arena.

In recent years, such firms have formed a lobbying group, Financial Innovation Now, that is staking out their view on various hot-button topics. But some firms are also meeting individually with government agencies.

For example, Amazon lobbyists met with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency starting in the second quarter of 2016, and again this year to discuss “issues related to mobile payments and payment processing, financial innovation, and technology,” according to publicly available lobbying disclosures.

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Equifax apologizes as U.S. watchdog calls for more oversight

 

FILE PHOTO: Credit reporting company Equifax Inc. corporate offices are pictured in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., September 8, 2017. REUTERS/Tami Chappell/File Photo

Big data analytics in healthcare comes with many challenges, including security, visualization, and a number of data integrity concerns.

By John McCrank

(Reuters) – Equifax Inc promised to make it easier for consumers to control access to their credit records in the wake of the company’s massive breach after the top U.S. consumer financial watchdog called on the industry to introduce such a system.

Equifax’s interim chief executive officer, Paulino do Rego Barros Jr., vowed to introduce a free service by Jan. 31 that will let consumers control access to their own credit records.

Barros, who was named interim CEO on Tuesday as Richard Smith stepped down from the post amid mounting criticism over the handling of the cyber attack, also apologized for providing inadequate support to consumers seeking information after the breach was disclosed on Sept. 7. He promised to add call-center representatives and bolster a breach-response website.

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How Tracking Technology Helped Baseball’s Best Fielding Outfielder

After improving his first step, the Twins’ Byron Buxton has saved 24 outs over the average outfielder this season, according to Statcast

Minnesota Twins center fielder Byron Buxton catches a fly ball during a recent game. Photo: Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

By Jared Diamond

Byron Buxton, the human vacuum cleaner who patrols center field for the Minnesota Twins, reached a frightening conclusion last winter: Even with his sprinter’s speed, superhuman instincts and unparalleled fearlessness around the wall, his defense could still be better.

He arrived at that belief thanks in part to Statcast, Major League Baseball’s sophisticated player-tracking technology that counts Buxton as perhaps its prototype player. With data provided by Statcast and the Twins’ coaching staff, Buxton learned that his first step—how quickly he reacts after the ball connects with the bat—wasn’t as quick as he would have liked.

So over the offseason, he spent a couple weeks at his old high school in Baxley, Ga., focusing intensely on trying to improve an area that not long ago couldn’t have been quantified.

“I picked up on the numbers and I was like, ‘Well, I can be better than this, I can do this better,’” Buxton said in an interview this week at Yankee Stadium. “So I started picking out the small things that I felt like I could get a little better at.”

Launched across all 30 ballparks in 2015, Statcast uses high-resolution cameras and radar equipment to record the location and movements of the ball and every player on the field.

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‘We’ve Been Breached’: Inside the Equifax Hack

The crisis has sent shock waves through the industry, spooked consumers and sparked investigations

Equifax’s headquarters in Atlanta. Chief Executive Richard Smith has called the cyberattack the ‘most humbling moment in our 118-year history.’ PHOTO: RHONA WISE/EPA/SHUTTERSTOCK

By
AnnaMaria Andriotis

On March 8, researchers at Cisco Systems Inc. reported an online security flaw that allowed hackers to break into servers around the internet. Cisco urged users to upgrade their systems immediately with a newly issued fix.

Equifax Inc. was among the companies using the flawed software. On Friday, it said its technology experts at the time worked to identify and patch vulnerable systems.

In late July, though, Atlanta-based Equifax discovered suspicious traffic on its system—and found the same security flaw still existed in some areas. The company’s security staff again addressed the problem, according to Equifax, but by then it was too late.

From about mid-May to July 30, hackers ransacked vast troves of information at the credit-reporting company. The breach potentially exposed about 143 million Americans’ personal information, including names, addresses, dates of birth and Social Security numbers. The revelations have shaken the company, as well as confidence in a linchpin of the financial system, and triggered a federal criminal investigation.

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Top 3 Health Data Breaches Impact Nearly 1.5M Individuals

The largest reported health data breaches thus far in 2017 have potentially affected nearly 1.5 million people, with hacking being the leading cause.

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth Snell

September 15, 2017 – Hacking and IT security issues, including phishing scams and ransomware attacks, are still the leading causes for the largest health data breaches in 2017, according to data from OCR.

The three largest incidents thus far – two of which are classified as either hacking or an IT incident – have also potentially impacted 1,497,800 individuals.

No healthcare provider can ensure that a data breach will never take place, but these incidents further show why organizations need to take the time to regularly review their physical, technical, and administrative safeguards. Comprehensive employee training is also critical, especially with ransomware attacks on the rise.

Entities of all sizes need to feel confident that staff members can potentially recognize an attack, and report it to the proper authorities instead of clicking on or opening a malicious link or email.

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