NYPD launches etching program to track stolen iPods | iLounge News


NYPD launches etching program to track stolen iPods

In response to the increase of iPod thefts on the subways, the New York City police department has launched a new program to register and track iPods. The New York Daily News reports: “Under the iPod etching program, cops are using invisible ink to mark the mini-music machines—as well as cell phones, BlackBerries and other electronic devices—so they can return lost or stolen items to their rightful owners and connect with potential prosecution witnesses.” The police are offering the free iPod service at Transit Bureau offices, and are setting up tables throughout the subway system where devices can be marked. About 2,100 devices have been registered in the last three months. [via Infinite Loop]

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Nice. I hope they start doing this everywhere.


Posted by Josh Powell on May 31, 2006 at 10:13 AM (CDT)


So what if the pickpocket uses some kind of polish? It’ll probably come off!

Posted by hoho on May 31, 2006 at 10:43 AM (CDT)


Did they stop putting the serial number on the back of each ipod?  Why not use that since it’s already there?

Posted by good grief on May 31, 2006 at 10:49 AM (CDT)


Because the NYPD can’t get a list of customer names, addresses, etc matched to serial numbers. Apple’s database has some, granted, but then there are the resellers. Even if the list existed, it’d probably be against the law to force companies to share it.

Plus the program encapsulates other portable personal electronics. This way they have a 100% voluntary tracking system across different platforms. And it probably does grab any serial number markings “just in case”.

It’s a great idea. Wish they had it where I lived.

Next step: LOJACK!

Posted by Iie on May 31, 2006 at 12:27 PM (CDT)


Iie: you missed the point…  instead of etching something onto the ipods, the police could simple write down the pre-existing serial number when the owner brings the ipod in.

And when faced with a device which doesn’t have an easily viewable or accessible serial number, then etch it.

Posted by good grief on May 31, 2006 at 1:11 PM (CDT)


Hey Hoho-

I don’t think the pickpocket is going to use some magic polish to remove the INVISIBLE ink.

First, they’d actually have to see it to know to remove it.

Second, I think you are giving pickpockets everywhere way too much credit.  If they were so dilligent and thorough, then they’d probably have made a better career choice than iPod pickpocketer.

Posted by Dave Geller on May 31, 2006 at 2:05 PM (CDT)


this program is pointless, unless the NYPD is also planning on building ipod security checkpoints in front of every single subway entrance/exit

unless I’m really missing something, how on earth would this program help someone recover a stolen ipod in practice?

Posted by G O on June 1, 2006 at 1:55 PM (CDT)


Do you remember when you could take your bike to the police and they would do the same thing?  It didn’t make much difference to the amount of recovered bikes.  Sounds like a nice bit of PR to me.

Posted by The Duke on June 2, 2006 at 4:36 AM (CDT)



the point isn’t that they’ll check everyone’s ipod. It’s incase someone is arrested and they have a stolen ipod with them. Then the ipod can be returned to it’s owner.

Seem’s like a good idea. But then again, so was communism.

Posted by Adam on June 5, 2006 at 3:12 PM (CDT)

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