This programmer by the name of Matt Burns has written a search engine that lets people find their stolen camera!!
Can that be done?
I learn that your digital photo's EXIF data actually have your camera's serial number embedded in it!
According to Wikipedia:
Exif was created by the Japan Electronic Industries Development Association (JEIDA). Version 2.1 of the specification is dated June 12, 1998, and the latest, version 2.3 dated April 2010, was jointly formulated by JEITA and CIPA.
Though the specification is not currently maintained by any industry or standards organization, its use by camera manufacturers is nearly universal.
The metadata tags defined in the Exif standard cover a broad spectrum:
- Date and time information. Digital cameras will record the current date and time and save this in the metadata.
- Camera settings. This includes static information such as the camera model and make, and information that varies with each image such as orientation (rotation), aperture, shutter speed, focal length, metering mode, and ISO speed information.
- A thumbnail for previewing the picture on the camera's LCD screen, in file managers, or in photo manipulation software.
- Descriptions and copyright information.