GadgetTrak Blog


Back-to-School iPod/Gadget Theft Warning and Anti-Theft Tips
Tuesday, August 28, 2007


GadgetTrak™ the provider of patent-pending iPod® and gadget theft recovery software reports rising theft rates in schools, as well as successful device recoveries and offers tips on how to keep your gadgets safe during the school year

Portland, Ore. August 28, 2007 - GadgetTrak™ reports seeing a rising number of iPod® and other gadget thefts occurring in schools and colleges, as well as several successful recoveries due to their software. As students head back to school, they are bringing more expensive gadgets with them than ever, such as iPods, digital cameras, USB flash drives, PDAs and more. These small devices are hot items for thieves and easy to steal.

“It is heart-breaking, these devices are quite an investment for kids, only to have them taken away in seconds,” states Ken Westin founder and inventor of the patent-pending GadgetTrak system. “This is why our system was invented, to provide victims a more pro-active solution when it comes to recovering their stolen devices.”

In the last few months of the previous school year, GadgetTrak had several devices reported stolen by their subscribers from a school or college, all but one was recovered, including an iPod, Sony MP3 player and several USB flash drives.

“It has been very rewarding to track these devices down for GadgetTrak subscribers, many times we are finding that the thief is actually someone the victim knows and it is very much a pre-meditated act. Sometimes it is difficult to know who is more surprised when we track the gadgets down, the device owners or the thieves.” states Westin.

Thomas Shea a Brookline, MA police officer and founder of JustStolen.net (www.juststolen.net) a free stolen property registry developed by law enforcement states “Gadget theft is a huge problem, especially in schools. JustStolen.net is making great progress in regards to sharing information about stolen property and we are partnering with GadgetTrak as their system takes theft recovery to another level by allowing the devices to help us find them. The fact that they are recovering devices shows that it works.”

GadgetTrak works by subscribers installing software on their devices. If a subscriber reports a device as stolen in the GadgetTrak system, the next time the device is accessed it sends data back to GadgetTrak, including location, user name, computer name and other forensic data that aid in the recovery of the device.

In addition to installing GadgetTrak software on your devices in the event of a theft, GadgetTrak offers a few suggestions to help prevent theft in the first place:

  • If possible leave your devices at home, if you bring it to school keep it with you even when not in use, lockers are easily broken into
  • Keep your devices hidden in your pocket or inside of a jacket, never leave it exposed on a belt clip or in your hand
  • As soon as possible replace the “mug me” white ear-buds with something less conspicuous

If your device has been stolen and you do not have the GadgetTrak software installed, GadgetTrak recommends that you file a police report as well as register your device with JustStolen.net (www.juststolen.net). GadgetTrak is offering a 10% discount to schools and colleges, administrators or student organizations can contact GadgetTrak to get a discount code for their school. Visit www.gadgettrak.com for more information.

About GadgetTrak
GadgetTrak (www.gadgettrak.com) is the developer of patent-pending theft recovery technology for portable media devices such as iPods, GPS systems, digital cameras, USB flash drives and more. Founded in Portland, Oregon GadgetTrak is currently protecting over ten thousand devices worldwide and has a 90 percent recovery rate. Current subscriptions to the GadgetTrak service start at $12.95 for one device and $19.95 for five devices.

Dateline NBC Features GadgetTrak Technology, which Solves iPod and Gadget Theft Problem
Wednesday, August 8, 2007


GadgetTrakTM Allows the Installation of Tracking Software on Small Devices such as iPods, GPS Systems, USB Flash Drives and Digital Cameras. Dateline NBC Recently Featured the Innovative Technology on Its ”To Catch an i-Jacker” Exclusive.

PORTLAND, Ore.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–GadgetTrakTM, the patent-pending iPod and gadget theft recovery system, was recently featured on Dateline NBCs To Catch An i-Jacker exclusive. In the story, a sting operation was conducted in which several iPods were planted to see who would steal them.

Dateline NBC did a great job exposing the very real problem of iPod theft, however their tracking methods were not practical, GadgetTrak Founder Ken Westin said. No software was actually installed on the devices themselves. As they mentioned that is where we come in; we work at the device level.

GadgetTrak allows owners of iPods®, USB flash drives, GPS systems and digital cameras to install tracking software on their devices. If a device is lost or stolen, the technology sends data back to GadgetTrak and the owner regarding the devices location and other forensic information to assist in its recovery.

Westin developed the technology for his master’s thesis, and the project became so popular that Westin turned it into a business. In addition to Dateline NBC, GadgetTrak has been featured in several top technology publications including Engadget, Wired, Sci-Fi Channel, Yahoo Tech, Crunch Gear, Geek Brief, Gear Fire and several others.

During the past few months, GadgetTrak has had several successful device recoveries. Recently in Newmarket, Ontario, a stolen iPod was returned to a subscriber after data was sent back to GadgetTrak regarding its whereabouts.

GadgetTrak’s popularity has led to a few copy-cats, however. They are mostly patent-pirates and scammers, Westin said, but luckily we have excellent legal counsel aggressively protecting our intellectual capital. We advise people to be cautious with anyone claiming rights to similar technology. It might be more than your device they are tracking and they may not be around when your device goes missing.

The service currently works on a subscription model. Users can protect up to five devices for a yearly subscription of $19.95. For more information, visit www.gadgettrak.com

Fake Steve Weighs In On Dateline iPod Theft Story
Monday, August 6, 2007


Even Fake Steve has an opinion on the recent Dateline iPod story.

Although funny it does bring to light some claims made during the Dateline NBC special “To Catch An iJacker” where GadgetTrak was mentioned, in regards Apple’s responsibility in all of this.  It really should not be Apple’s responsibility, there have been rumblings of a class action lawsuit against Apple, which is quite silly. You cannot sue a company for building a high-demand product and it is not their task to provide theft deterrents. This is a reflection of our increasingly mobile society, not a conspiracy by Apple to create a generation of thieves. It is not just iPods that are being stolen but also cell phones, laptops and other gadgets.

Let the market decide. If theft becomes a large enough issue in the marketplace it provides an opportunity for a company to add theft deterrents to their products.

Dateline NBC iPod Theft – Part 2
Sunday, August 5, 2007


Another key point left out of Dateline’s story are the numerous other devices that exist. What about other MP3 player manufacturers, are they to be responsible for thefts of their devices as well? No mention was made of iRiver, Cowon or countless other manufacturers. Then we get into other devices, what about digital cameras, Sony PSPs, GPS systems and more?  We live in an increasingly mobile society, it is not just an iPod society and Apple cannot stop thieves, nor should they be expected to.  The one difference that I think Dateline is getting at, is that they could do something about it if they chose to, particularly given the coupling between iPods and iTunes on the desktop.

Dateline NBC iPod Theft
Wednesday, August 1, 2007


This evening on Dateline NBC GadgetTrak will be featured in a special focusing on iPod theft. Chris Hansen will be interviewing law enforcement officials regarding whether or not they can track these devices down.

In the story they setup a sting operation with a CD ROM developed by Blackfin Technologies in Boise Idaho disguised as an activation disc for the iPod. This is not exactly anti-theft recovery system for the rest of us, as the “ploy” requires that the iPod look like a brand new iPod in its packaging and that they put the CD-ROM, not exactly a practical solution for the rest of us.

Dateline did a good job of discussing the real problem of iPod theft, however I think it might have been a little too Apple focused. What about all of the other gadgets out there today.

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