Using Wireless Technologies to Fight Camera Theft

If every digital camera contained a SIM or RFID module, it could log into its manufacturer's product-authentication database when switched on and, if stolen, report its whereabouts and disable itself until returned to its rightful owner.
By Dieter Uckelmann, with contributions from Mark Harrison
Finally, one or more central repositories or product identifier authentication lookup services must be put into place that, ideally, would co-operate in a federated manner, and provide the following services and access to the following roles:

• Enabling a legitimate owner to register the unique ID number of a device given the lock key provided to that individual by the selling party, to thereby generate a locking key that should be known only to the current legitimate owner; all previous locking keys associated with that unique ID should then be unlinked and rendered inactive for that device's unique ID.

• Allowing a legitimate owner to record and report a device as stolen, by providing its unique ID number and locking key as parameters to an appropriate method or function.

• Enabling a seller to verify whether an item had already been reported as stolen, based on querying with a unique ID.

• Allowing the police to verify the legitimate owner's identity (based on querying with a unique ID and that person's authentication credentials) and to authorize a chargeback/reversal of the transaction so that anyone who buys stolen property could be reimbursed upon returning the stolen goods to a police station. This, however, would require the co-operation of one or multiple trusted billing services.
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