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Published:February 26th, 2009 12:31 EST
Cloak and Dagger: Consumer Spy

Cloak and Dagger: Consumer Spy

By Andrew Chien

Yamaha, Kawasaki, Harley Davidson, Audi, Nissan, Lexus, and BMW worked with DataDot Technology USA, of Redmond, Wash., to introduce to their consumers a relic from the Cold War at the low price of $19.99 last Monday, January 23rd. This innovative technology is referred to as microdots and they allow consumers to attach unique microscopic identifiers, which can be construed as a sort of asset DNA to their personal property for easy retrieval if stolen. The dots in each kit are made of a high-tech polyester substrate laser, etched with 50 characters of information. They are suspended in a water-based liquid and can be brushed on the surface of the desired item without causing any harm to the item.

The dots can be seen by scanning the surface of the item with a black or ultraviolet light. A scope with 50x magnification is commonly used to read the information on the dots. They can be purchased at DataDot`s Web site, Radio Shack Stores, as well as various outlet stores.

The dots are strong deterrents to theft according to Stuart Cutler, DataDot`s President for Distribution and Operations.

If a thief sees dots on there, they will try to get them off, and if they use a really sharp object, they might be able to get them off, but they will damage the item itself. They don`t want to go looking for dots or damage an item to get the technology off. "

Also included in the DataDot`s kit are four stickers that can be attached to items to warn off thieves.

These stickers appeared on some headlights stolen off a Lexus. Detective Sgt. Charles Bryant of the West Orange Police Department in New Jersey said that after discovering the stickers, he was told to contact DataDot from the information on the sticker and received instructions for matching the headlights to the vehicle they were stolen from. After acquiring this information, he said that he has found them on four sets of headlights that he has recently recovered.

The kits seem to be highly marketable in colleges and universities. We`ve had eight universities sign up with us in three weeks, " Cutler said. They`re marking all their items across the university with the technology and making the product available to students through their bookstores. "

What we realized was that there was a big need in the market for people to have asset DNA for their own home and electronic equipment. So we came out with this product designed to mark high-valuable items in the home. "