I don't know about you but it already happened to me to have my camera stolen. Since last year Lenstag is providing, for free..., an app that lets you register your photo gear on line. If somebody is using it and post a photo on the web that photo contains a hidden file, the EXIF, where the id of the camera, and the lens used to take the photo are recorded, can be searched to see if the identity matches with your.
In March 2014 Lenstag announced that one of its customer was able to track his stolen camera (it is worth reading the story to enhance your trust in people...) because of its registration in their data base.
One may say that having just one score in a year (and by the way because of the high ethical standard of one person...) is just too little to jump on this service (even considering it is free).
On the other hand one can imagine that is a service like this gets viral and everybody will register his gear it will be much more difficult to sell stolen cameras and lenses and that in turns might decrease theft. It just requires that registering and checking for the trustiness of a product becomes a common habit, and that may be a telltale of a Digital Society.
Interestingly, few days ago Lenstag has extended its service to photos. Now you can also search the web for photos taken with your camera/lenses to find out if some of them are used in an improper way (somebody is stealing your "photos" publishing them in his documents). If you have the Lenstag app, it works both on IOs and Android, you can ask for a search of photos with your camera/lenses id attached.
It is not a foolproof technology, you can very well delete the EXIF file before posting it (although that might get quite tricky if you are posting something directly form the camera to the web (as it happens when you use your cell phone to place photos on Facebook on the go). In most cases, however, people are not aware of the hidden EXIF and what can be done with it, so there is a high probability that a thief will not be smart enough to take precaution.
Of course, there is also a downside... BY registering your camera you are basically providing an information about you, and that information will keep growing as you post photos, since these photos can now be connected to you, and to your whereabouts, your friends.... you get the gist. Say hello to privacy. Probably, you already did, you just don't recognise it.
What decided me to post this news is the fact that step by step we are connecting our world of atoms with the WWW and new opportunities open up. Stay tuned for a future that is already among us.