GadgetTrak Blog

Laptop Theft Recovery Software & Privacy
Tuesday, August 30, 2011

One of our competitors who develops laptop theft recovery software has made the news recently due to a lawsuit filed against them where they are accused of crossing the line in terms of privacy, particularly a staff member who had back door access to a customer’s computer. It is important to note that not all theft recovery software and approaches are created equal, we saw serious issues early on with the “traditional approach” to theft recovery which requires the company to provide a back door into the computer system for monitoring center staff to access.

When we designed our software we kept customer privacy at the top of mind and built the system so that a back door was not needed. With privacy in mind we also gather only the critical information that law enforcement need to recover a stolen device. We do not capture screenshots, not only because it is not needed but we also felt that it was in violation of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act ( ECPA ). The information we do gather includes location, network information and a photo of who is using the computer, all of which are sent directly to the owner of the device. The device owner can even configure the software to use their own mail servers for added privacy. The data our customers’ see when testing the software is the only information our software gathers and they have full control of how and where this data is delivered and stored.

GadgetTrak pioneered the use of Wi-Fi positioning for laptop theft recovery, paired with the web camera capture and network information we provide law enforcement powerful tools to investigate theft. Since launching our innovative and privacy-safe approach to laptop theft recovery in 2008 we have had a very high recovery rate while still protecting our customers’ privacy. By using advanced technology we are able to provide law enforcement with the information they need to recover the device, while at the same time not requiring invasive back doors that not only compromise customers’ privacy, but also security.

If you have questions or concerns regarding privacy, or our technology feel free to contact me directly.

Thank You

Ken Westin
GadgetTrak Founder & CEO

ActiveTrak, Inc. announces the opening of ActiveTrak do Brasil in response to growing mobile market in Latin America
Thursday, August 25, 2011

ActiveTrak LogoSAO PAULO, Brasil and PORTLAND, Ore. – August 25, 2011 – ActiveTrak Inc. (, producer of loss and theft recovery software for mobile devices, today announced the opening of an office in Sao Paulo to manage the rapidly growing mobile market in Latin America.

Photographer Recovers $9K Stolen Camera & Equipment Thanks to GadgetTrak
Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Professional photographer recovers stolen Nikon D3 camera using GadgetTrak Camera Serial Search. The stolen camera was tracked down through images posted on Flickr after the device was stolen that were scanned and indexed by GadgetTrak. Police acted on evidence provided and recovered the camera a year after it was stolen.

Professional photographer John Heller experienced the unthinkable while on assignment for Getty Images. His prized possession, a Nikon D3 camera was stolen from him at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood. It seemed the camera with lenses valued at over $9,000 was gone forever; gone that is, until just a few months ago when he did a search for his camera on GadgetTrak’s Camera Serial Search. Heller entered the serial number of his stolen camera and found an exact match with several images that were recently posted to Flickr.

Photo from Facebook profile of the stolen camera’s new owner after theft

With the help of police, Heller was able to track the images to another professional photographer through Facebook, who had unknowingly purchased the stolen camera from an individual and even had the receipt to prove it. The camera was returned to Heller and the police are currently investigating the individual whom it was purchased from, the investigation is still ongoing.

This is the first time stolen property has been recovered by tracking the serial number embedded in images. We have also learned that thanks to this recovery, the LAPD is now recommending our tool to detectives and officers in the field.

GadgetTrak’s Camera Serial Search tool is a free service that we developed that scans images posted online and extracts their embedded serial numbers into a searchable database. It allows people to enter the serial number of a camera and see all of the photos that we have discovered that were taken by that camera. To date we have indexed more than 10 million camera serial numbers, making it the largest database of its kind. We have currently indexed all of the photos on professional photo sites like as well as all images posted to Flickr from 2006 to the present, with plans to search additional sites in the works.

If you are a reporter and would like more information regarding this recovery, or any of our recoveries, contact us directly at 503-799-8610


TechCrunch – Embedded Serial Number Helps Photographer Find His Stolen Camera
Gizmodo – How This Pro Photographer Recovered $9k Worth of Stolen Gear
BoingBoing – Photographer gets $9K worth of stolen camera gear back with GadgetTrak
Washington Post – Embedded Serial Number Helps Photographer Find His Stolen Camera
Popular Photography Magazine – Website Helps Recover a Nikon D3 Using EXIF Data
Tecca – $9,000 in stolen camera equipment recovered through Flickr search

24 Hours of GadgetTrak
Sunday, August 21, 2011

Since GadgetTrak started tracking stolen devices in 2007 we have launched tracking and data protection across the most popular platforms. Today GadgetTrak is the only solution that allows users to track all of their devices across Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and Blackberry devices, as well as embedded in FLIR cameras. Now with over a million downloads around the world, we thought you would like to see what 24 hours looks like as devices check in:

Click the image to view a larger map or click here to view a real-time map of devices checking in

Since we launched our first product we have been reuniting customers with their devices, we are the first to recover a stolen laptop using the web camera and Wi-Fi positioning, the first to track and recover a stolen smartphone and the only company that has recovered stolen iPods, flash drives and other devices. We are also the first and only mobile security company to provide “host proof” data backup where data is encrypted with your own privacy key before being uploaded, ensuring that not even we have access to your sensitive data. We continue to innovate and have some new “firsts” we will be announcing soon.

GadgetTrak Leads Police To Phone Thieves Targeting Wireless Store
Tuesday, August 9, 2011

GadgetTrak Mobile Security was installed on demo phones at a Sprint store and is now leading authorities to suspected thieves. The software has provided location data as well as photos of the suspects captured by the stolen phones.

The thieves were able to remove the phones from their secure cradles, the store was able to capture surveilance videos of the thieves in the act.

After the theft the store activated GadgetTrak which provided location of the thieves as they moved to Vancouver, Washington. In addition we were able to access images captured by the phone of the suspects.

In one of the images we were also able to see a temporary permit on the back window and were able to read the numbers.

We tracked one of the phones to an apartment complex in Vancouver, Washington.

An investigative reporter went to the location with the data we provided and found the car thanks to the trip permit in the image.

The police are still investigating the incident, but thanks to GadgetTrak they have quite a bit of evidence in the case and it is only a matter of time before the suspects are identified and brought in for questioning.

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