A Great Idea to Stop Gadget Thefts
Samuel Borgese was recently featured on The New York Times, as part of a story that points out how gadget makers in the US seem less inclined to help out owners of stolen who don’t want thieves to profit. Borgese’s brilliant idea? When someone registers a second-hand gadget, the maker should send an email to the original owner, asking them to confirm that they indeed sold the gadget.
This idea probably won’t work for gadgets not tied to a specific service. But for items like Amazon’s Kindle, where users need to be properly registered so that they can buy books for the electronic book reader, Borgese’s solution is a definite winner. If the original owner doesn’t verify the sale, then the gadget is rendered effectively useless. And the person trying to register the gadget—potentially a thief—has left a traceable record within the system.
Granted, it’s possible that people have figured out how to load pirated books onto a Kindle, limiting this deterrent somewhat. But providing this kind of service can help gadget makers score points against those bemoaning the imposition of propriety and closed platforms onto users. “Yes, you buy books at the price we set, and we can delete books you’ve paid for (and refund you). But we will also help you catch those who steal your gadgets—or at least make it harder for them to profit from illegal enterprise.”
It’s easy to see the reasons behind the stance towards stolen gadgets of companies like Amazon. Most likely they involve legal and cost concerns. But wouldn’t an anti-theft guarantee be a great incentive to commit to a product and its corresponding service(s)?