North Watford to test microscopic data paint

North Watford is the first area to test a new system - to be installed in 1,000 homes over the summer - that uses encrypted data stored on microscopic particles to mark home owners' assets so they can easily be identified. The scheme is a collaboration between Hertfordshire Constabulary and technology suppliers RedWeb Security and MyThings.

North Watford is the first area to test a new system - to be installed in 1,000 homes over the summer - that uses encrypted data stored on microscopic particles to mark home owners' assets so they can easily be identified. The scheme is a collaboration between Hertfordshire Constabulary and technology suppliers RedWeb Security and MyThings.

Home owners are encouraged to tag their valuables and then register them on the MyThings website, a page created for householders taking part in the trial.

Each house is supplied with a bottle of fluid containing the EnigmaTag microparticles that can be painted on to any asset, such as computers, digital cameras, jewellery and antiques. In the event that your stolen goods are recovered, the paint makes identification of owners easy. The paint is invisible, so it can only be detected by scanners, meaning that burglars will not be able to scrape the paint off to avoid detection.

Hertfordshire Police chief constable, Frank Whiteley, said the product could make burglars easier to catch and, if the system was widely adopted, could generally lower the incentive for burglary. "We are committed to using technology advances to catch people who invade homes and steal possessions, and we are working with the public to cut the number of burglaries," he said.

The scheme's owners are hoping that a "Thieves Beware" sticker, which comes with each enigmaTag bottle, will be sufficient warning to deter potential burglars.

RedWeb Security >>

Mythings >>

Comment on this article: computer.weekly@rbi.co.uk

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