10,000 laptops a week lost at US airports? I don't believe it


A story circulating in the news over the weekend could well throw business travelers into panic; according to the Ponemon Institute, as many as 10,000 laptop computers are lost in American airports every week. I've learned, however, to question statistics that seem unreasonable, and this one struck me as 14K b*****t. Looking further into the referenced study, I believe I might well be right.

The first question I had was, just how was this data measured and collected? The answer, from the study- "Laptop loss frequencies were collected from a confidential field survey as either a direct weekly estimate or as a range variable as reported by airport officials. Exact loss frequencies were typically not calculated or available for review." The 'range variables' of the responses were not included.

At this point, I had a vision of a harried airport official with a survey and a hundred other papers in his/her hands writing down a WAG just to get it out of the way. But do the statistics support this suspicion? Take a look.