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Dear Camera Makers, Please Secure Our Camera Gear to Stop Robberies

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Dear camera manufacturers,

The photography community and content creators would like to voice an urgent need for camera gear to be equipped with anti-theft protective systems.

Theft and robbery of high-value items is not a new issue, and will not disappear soon. However, the targets of such crimes have evolved. All of us remember when vehicle theft was rampant. Manufacturers realized better-protected cars meant satisfied customers, and they made security improvements. Vehicle theft dropped. Less than a decade ago, smartphones were extremely vulnerable to theft. Manufacturers realized better-protected phones meant more sales, and they introduced biometrics and remote disabling. Phone thefts dropped.

Among the nefarious, the secret is out: camera gear is the perfect thing to steal. It is of high value, holds its resale value, and is compact and easy to conceal. We cannot change this. More importantly, however, camera gear can’t currently be tracked or remotely disabled. Anyone can turn it on and operate it. We CAN change this.

The situation has become increasingly dire. It is no longer an issue of “don’t leave your valuables in your car.” Photographers are getting pepper-sprayed, held up at gunpoint, tackled to the ground, followed for an hour to their homes, and even shot at — unprovoked, in broad daylight, in official newscaster and film sets. We CAN change this.

Read also: Photographers Robbed While Stuck in SF Traffic, Lose $7,000 in Camera Gear

The lack of security features is impacting the community in countless negative ways. As community leaders, we are seeing our members and followers putting their cameras away and staying home. The community’s signature friendliness has given way to wariness and reservedness. Professional photographers are being dropped from insurance following repeated theft claims, threatening their livelihood.

Our safety as photographers is on the line.

Most important suggestions for securing our gear:

1. Passcodes to operate all cameras. Ideally, this could also be pushed to existing cameras via firmware update. Because some photographers need their camera at the ready, an option to only require the passcode once a day or once a week would be necessary.

2. Lens pairing to the camera. The fact that expensive lenses can be immediately used on almost any other camera, leaves a massive security hole. Lenses must pair with their cameras.

Very important suggestions:

1. GPS tracking/internet connectivity. Yes, this must be owner opt-in. A feature similar to Find My iPhone, for example.

2. Biometrics. Fingerprint scanner, and/or face recognition. Cameras are held in the hand and held up to our face, making this a fast, secure method.

3. Remote disabling. If the camera is reported stolen, it should not function.

Make no mistake, this is a highly lucrative business opportunity. Our community will line up in droves to purchase cameras with anti-theft technology. Will your company be the first to take advantage of it?

We understand changes like this take time to discuss internally, so we look forward to your response by COB on November 19, 2021.

Respectfully yours,

The photography community

If you would like to voice your support for these changes to cameras, please sign this petition over on Change.org.

About the author: Jeff Lewis of Escaype.com is the original author of this open letter. Other contributors include Tony and Chelsea Northrup, Louis Chan, and members of the Escaype community.

Image credits: Header illustration photos licensed from Depositphotos

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