Stolen Camera Finder Locates Your Camera's Photos On The Web

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 28, 2011
Updated • Dec 11, 2012

Many digital cameras store the camera's serial number in the photo's EXIF information, which can then be used to identify photos taken with that specific camera.

The new web service Stolen Camera Finder uses this concept to locate photos on the Internet. You can upload a photo taken with a particular camera to the service's website, or enter the camera's serial number directly to start a search for photos on the web. The drag and drop upload is currently only working under Firefox and Google Chrome, if you use another browser you need to enter the camera's serial number into the form.

This is quite problematic, considering that some camera models store an internal serial number in the EXIF tags that is different from the serial number shown on the camera itself. Tools to read EXIF information. Tools like Photo Me can be used to read the EXIF information from a photo taken with that camera.

The main idea behind the search is that the thief may have uploaded photos taken with the camera to the Internet, which would then open up possibilities to identify the person responsible for stealing the digital camera.

The service crawls the web for photos with serial numbers and adds all that are found to its database, which currently contains a list of well over one million serial numbers.

stolen camera finder

The serial number of the camera is then compared to the information stored in the database, with matches being reported to the user on site.

A match does not necessarily mean that the thief has uploaded photos to the web. It can very well be a photo that the original owner has uploaded to the Internet before the camera was stolen.

Users can fill out a missing camera report to receive email notifications whenever a new photo with the same serial number is added to the database.

The developers of Stolen Camera Finder have created a Google Chrome extension that anonymously submits information to the site if a JPG image is loaded that contains a serial number.

Another application, Flickr Scraper, is offered on site that scans the Flickr website for photos and submits the information to the project's database.

The Stolen Camera Finder service adds another option for users who have lost their digital camera, or had it stolen. The biggest drawbacks currently are the small database size and the fact that several camera models do not save serial number information.


Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.