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P: Database of stolen cameras for recovery

Community Beginner ,
Dec 12, 2023 Dec 12, 2023

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Adobe has the power to make the world a little better for photographers.
One of our great fears is the theft of equipment, and it seems incredible to me that with the technology that exists today, it still continues to be stolen.
My proposal is that Adobe implements in the software a mechanism that collects the serial numbers of the cameras (exiff) and contrasts it with the database of stolen cameras, and if it comes out positive, send the IP to the police or apply some measure, such as showing a stolen camera message on the screen or whatever that makes it difficult for the thief to have such an easy way out.
I know that there are legal impediments and surely there will be people who know how to bypass this filter, but I think that the simple fact of not going unpunished and thinking that they can be caught, would greatly reduce the thefts of these articles.

 

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LEGEND ,
Dec 12, 2023 Dec 12, 2023

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Do you seriously think that something like that would deter casual (it usually is) camera theft?

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Community Beginner ,
Dec 12, 2023 Dec 12, 2023

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Would you steal a camera if when you want to develop a photo the software sends the location to the police?
 
We can continue as before and leave it just as easy for thieves, or try to change things and I seriously believe that there is technology to be able to do it.

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LEGEND ,
Dec 13, 2023 Dec 13, 2023

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LEGEND ,
Dec 14, 2023 Dec 14, 2023

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You know a better place for this to occur??

The various social media sires like Facebook, and the various Photo Sharing/Publishing sites//services like SmugMug, FLICKR. And the major press/Share sites like Getty, etc. Sites where people publish photos into. Mind you clever people strip that metdata out, but people who bought the stolen goods, not so much. (Assuming the sites do not strip the data out)

 

They could compare data with theft depositories like LensTag. etc

 

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LEGEND ,
Dec 14, 2023 Dec 14, 2023

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OK, let's unpick this...

 

Is Adobe supposed to create, finance and administer this system on behalf of every Adobe-using photographer?

 

Which Adobe software would it be in? And which would it be left out of?

 

You mention "the database of stolen cameras": which one? There's no such thing here in the UK for example, and I imagine that's a state of affairs true of most of the planet.

 

Or perhaps Adobe is supposed to set up and pay for this, too? A world-wide repository of information about stolen cameras? We'd all end up paying towards the (I imagine significant) overhead, while many of us will get no benefit - or just not be interested in the first place, which means there'd also have to be an effective opt-out. 

 

More overhead.

 

Adobe is supposed to then contact the police: which police? Is Adobe supposed to reach out to every force everywhere? Hell, I can't find a way to contact my own local police electronically, and I only live a mile from the station - imagine the fun and games involved in Adobe connecting up with (say) an Uzbeki village police station: people in Uzbekistan have cameras too... 

 

How is Adobe supposed to arrange for a message to appear on a stolen camera? (I assume that's the screen you mean - but if you mean the computer screen, if I was using a stolen camera and had this to contend with, I'd just use Capture One, ON1 Photo Pro, Affinity Photo, ACDSee Photo Studio Professional, or any of a bunch of different RAW converters/pixel editors I have to hand. Adobe software is popular, but it surely isn't ubiquitous...)

 

Or - if I was really hell-bent on getting around this - it'd be easy enough to write an Exiftool batch job (or download one - they'd doubtless start appearing online almost immediately) to strip serial numbers from the RAW file Exif before exposing the files to Adobe software.

 

Conversely, if I was in possession of a stolen camera, and I needed to know whether it was going to shop me to the police - all I would need to do is disconnect my PC from the internet while I tested for Lr's reaction to the files, so it was physically unble to ping the police about the camera...

 

Is Adobe also supposed to re-code Lr, Ps et al to "play dumb" about the dodgy serial number while I'm offline; and retain the offending information until the next time I'm online? It's not going to happen - and wouldn't help anyway, because by then I'd already have imported, edited and exported the file.

 

If it is the camera screen: Adobe has no control over camera firmware, and there's no way on God's green earth (other imaginary deities are available) that Adobe is going to reach out to every camera manufacturer and get them to add this function to the firmware of millions of cameras.

 

What about lenses? They're often more valuable than cameras anyway. If some crim relieved me of my Canon R7 and adapted Canon EF 500mm F/4 MK II + 1.4x TC, it's the lens I'd be worried about getting back. Lens serial numbers are sometimes written into Exif, but again, that's another pile of data and work for Adobe to manage and adminster. And once the lens is sold on (bought in good faith, almost certainly) an innocent fellow-photographer could find himself relieved of gear that cost him thousands if the police were to knock on his door about it.

 

Honestly? That stinks. The original owner would be able to claim for his loss on insurance, but the new owner would not, so through no fault of his own he'd be uniquely screwed over. I would want no part in that, and it helps nobody.

 

And I shudder to think what it would do to the worldwide used camera gear trade

 

Although larger used equipment companies might be in a position to test a piece of gear for a registered-stolen serial no. there are thousands and thousands of little high-street 2nd-hand shops, pawn shops and the like across the planet that might find themselves with a camera or lens to sell on: there's a very high probability that they wouldn't have a compatible body available that would let them test a lens for example (or even know how to); nor would they be under any obligation to keep an up to date copy of LightRoom to hand in order to test the gear out, even if they could; and you can be pretty sure that they wouldn't be interested in doing it voluntarily, because that would have the police knocking on their door - something they'd be unlikely to welcome.

 

I could see it driving business away from Adobe too. Right now there are probably many thousands of Lr/Ps users worldwide who bought their cameras and/or lenses used, in good faith. If I thought that exposing files from a body or lens I bought used to Adobe software could bring the police to my door - yeah... See you, Adobe.

 

(That paragraph, right there, is all the reason Adobe needs to say no.)

 

But if all this were to come to pass, doesn't Adobe risk being held legally responsible if it doesn't result in a recovery of gear? This has "class action" written all over it, especially in the über-litigious US... 

 

"Would you steal a camera if when you want to develop a photo the software sends the location to the police?"

 

I wouldn't steal a camera (or buy used, for that matter) in the first place: but this will not stop the theft from happening - my original point. A thief will steal first, worry about the implications a very distant 2nd, if at all - and pretty much all of your proposed barriers are simply unachievable, or easily circumventable- by something as simple as using the software offline.

 

Lenstag is a completely different proposition: just because that might work (does it? Only one recovery since 2014, according to their own website. Most people just aren't going to look before buying used) it doesn't mean that this will...

 

Sorry. Laudable as your motivation is - and of course it is - it simply doesn't survive contact with the Real World.

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LEGEND ,
Dec 14, 2023 Dec 14, 2023

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"You know a better place for this to occur??

The various social media sires like Facebook, and the various Photo Sharing/Publishing sites//services like SmugMug, FLICKR. And the major press/Share sites like Getty, etc. Sites where people publish photos into. Mind you clever people strip that metdata out, but people who bought the stolen goods, not so much. (Assuming the sites do not strip the data out)

 

They could compare data with theft depositories like LensTag. etc"

 

Who's going to actually do all this scraping of the thousands of websites and millions of images uploaded to them daily, though?

 

None of them will do it for nothing: but even if they did, the same financial, functional and logistical barriers I talk about above will knock that notion on the head in short order.

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 08, 2024 Jan 08, 2024

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With so much problem and so much that is not possible, I am not telling you that man would not have reached the moon, but rather that we would still be deciding if the wheel is a good idea (and if there are any accidents when rolling?).
It is incredible that with the technology that exists, something technological is still ALLOWED to be stolen.
It is clear that everything can be hacked, but the more difficult it gets, the fewer thefts it will open.
I hope your equipment is never stolen and you have to regret your lack of support in this.

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