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LoJack for Laptops (the Free Version)

INSERT DESCRIPTIONPhoto from the University of Washington.


If you’re reading this post on a laptop computer, rest easy. Your computer may have just become far less appealing to thieves.

The University of Washington has released a free program that will track your laptop if it’s stolen. If the program is installed on a computer with a built-in camera, it will even send you a photo of the thief at the keyboard.

It’s called Adeona, after the Roman goddess of safe returns, and it’s a lot like LoJack — the silent alarm and recovery system for cars — for laptops.

We’ve blogged before about Levitt and Ian Ayres‘s paper on how Lojack drives down overall car theft because thieves can’t be sure which car is protected and which one is not.

The officially licensed LoJack for Laptops software has been available for purchase since 2006. But with a free version now also in the mix, far more laptops will be protected by anti-theft tracking tools that could lead police right to a thief’s door.

What would crime look like if every car and computer came with a free tracking device — or every bicycle, bulldozer, and boat?