30 March 2009

TidBITS goes Undercover

David Blatner has written an interesting article on theft-recovery for TidBITS. He has some nice things to say about Undercover:

Undercover in particular does some things I'd like to see incorporated into a future version of MacTrak, such as taking screen shots as the thief works and simulating a hardware failure to force the thief into bringing the machine in for repair

We could not agree more with David on Undercover's competitive edge.

However, I don't entirely agree with one of the author's points: he states that he does not 'like the idea of a third-party company being the mediator between me and the tracking data'. This is odd, as every theft-recovery solution out there, uses a client-server system. In that respect, data is always mediated and copied to some sort of server before the victim can view it. Even if the software sends the information 'directly' to your email account, that email has been 'mediated' by their servers.

However, more than three years of theft-recovery experience have learned us that having a mediator between the theft-data and the Mac's rightful owner is actually an advantage.

Indeed, some theft-recovery software lets you handle all the recovery work yourself. They simply dump the iSight pictures in your mailbox and that's it.
We don't: we have a fully staffed recovery center that handles hundreds of thefts each year. We have a rich in-house expertise on how to work with law enforcement in each country, including the US and Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia. As a result, we can handle recoveries more quickly and efficiently. We also assist the victim in extracting data from the screenshots he or she receives from the stolen Mac.

Having a mediator really pays off, and we consider that an important part of the service you pay for when purchasing Undercover. It's an asset, not a disadvantage.

That's not to say we handle everything behind the customer's back. Every single customer receives all the information we share with the police.

In addition, having us as a neutral mediator really encourages the police to work on the case and to take to court all the data we provide them with. This becomes much more difficult if the data is gathered by individuals, or shared on photo-sharing websites.