Stolen Camera Search Engine Crawls the Web for Serial Numbers

The Stolen Camera Finder is a new search engine developed over the past two years by programmer Matt Burns. His idea is to search the web for photographs that have a stolen camera’s serial number embedded in the EXIF information. It uses two web crawlers — the first is a standard one that accesses Flickr’s API, while the second is a Google Chrome browser plugin that silently runs in the background and peeks at the serial numbers of images on any webpage viewed. These serial numbers and URLs are stored in a database, and if you’d like to volunteer your browsing for this you can download the Chrome plugin here.

  • Dominionxx

    I have 10 JPGs, all shot with different cameras (Nikon, Canon, Sony)… this site doesn’t work at all … it says that these cameras don’t hold serial number info in EXIF data.

  • Bear1313

    How about making one of these for stolen iphone pictures. Wouldn’t it work the same.

  • Matt Burns

    Not all makes and models write any useful serial number information. You can check the current support status here:

  • Matt Burns

    Unfortunately, Apple don’t write any useful serial number information in their iPhone range:

    As this site becomes more popular, hopefully we can put pressure on more manufacturers to write this information.

    It would certainly be a factor for me when choosing a new phone if a handset wrote this information.The IMEI number would also be nice…


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  • Peter Beal

    does it work on any camera! does it work with JPG/RAW files Can serial numbers be changed

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  • LittleMouse

    I’m using FireFox, so maybe that’s the problem but when I drag a photo to the square it just displays the photo in the browser window.  The same thing happens with explorer.  Any ideas?

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  • Kevlarcutter

    You have to goto their site, and drag & drop a picture into the box, for it to work.
    The above is just a snapshot of the website page.
    I’m trying to recover a brand new Nikon D5100 stolen from a hospital room a few weeks ago. So far, no luck yet.

  • Jennifer Carlson-suarez

    I’m looking for my 1st camera I bought that was stolen 28 yrs ago. A rollei b35. I don’t have the serial # but I engraved my drivers license on it. Sure wish it would magically turn up!