Losing your gear or having it stolen is always a horrible experience, but one website is looking to take some of the sting out of the ordeal for people with missing cameras. In an age where sharing photos is just as important as capturing them in the first place, camera thieves are increasingly likely to let their guard down and post images they snap with stolen goods on Facebook, Flickr or elsewhere on the Web. What they often don’t realize, however, is that a camera’s serial number is stored in the metadata attached to each photo file. Unless a thief is savvy and knows to scrub that data from each image taken and shared, the website Stolen Camera Finder is going to hunt him or her down.
“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,” the site states in its How It Works section. “This information, called exif data, can also include a unique serial number which identifies your camera. Stolen Camera Finder crawls the internet searching for photos, collecting the serial numbers of the cameras that took them.”
Using the site, which was developed and launched by Matt Burns Ltd, couldn’t possibly be any easier. Simply find a photo on your computer or online that was taken with the camera you lost, and drag it onto Stolen Camera Finder’s home page. In mere moments, the site will return photos posted online that were taken by the same camera, along with links to each one.
The service is completely free to use with certain limitations, and then a pro subscription available for £4.99 per month provides extras such as unlimited searches, email alerts and submission to police data bases.