How to Hunt Down Your Stolen Digital Camera

How to Hunt Down Your Stolen Digital Camera

Gregory Han
May 19, 2011

Digital cameras are prime targets for thieves looking for an easy to flip and commonly go missing during vacations. Maybe you've already taken precautions to camouflage your gear or carry it around it in an unassuming bag, but still find yourself a victim of camera crime. What to do?

Matt Burns had the same question in mind when he created stolencamerafinder, a site which uses the unique EXIF information embedded in each of your photos to search for pictures online taken after your camera goes MIA, hopefully helping you reunite with your missing piece of gear:

Every photo you take with your digital camera contains hidden information about both the image and the camera such as the make, model and date. This information, called exif data, can also include a unique serial number which identifies your camera. stolencamerafinder crawls the internet searching for photos, collecting the serial numbers of the cameras that took them. When you use the drag & drop feature, stolencamerafinder reads the unique serial number from the exif data of your photo and uses it to match against serial numbers it has stored.

You can help improve the accuracy and range of the database by installing a free Chrome extension or running a Flickr scraper too. One thing yet to be implemented is compatibility with mobile phone cameras, which would increase the utility of this resource tenfold. But still, a chance to find your stolen camera beats no chance at all...

(Image: Flickr member Nicholas Chaimovlicensed for use under Creative Commons)

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