Laptop and gadget theft is growing. 109K laptops in 2007 per the FBI. Laptops, iPods, cellphones. Some of this leads to Identity theft. Some of this leads to corporate data leaks. Mainly, it's a huge pain in the butt.
There are quite a few companies that make software to get your laptops back. Did you know that there was an open-source software project for this? ADEONA.
Adeona is the first Open Source system for tracking the location of your lost or stolen laptop that does not rely on a proprietary, central service. This means that you can install Adeona on your laptop and go — there's no need to rely on a single third party. What's more, Adeona addresses a critical privacy goal different from existing commercial offerings. It is privacy-preserving. This means that no one besides the owner (or an agent of the owner's choosing) can use Adeona to track a laptop. Unlike other systems, users of Adeona can rest assured that no one can abuse the system in order to track where they use their laptop. ... Adeona is designed to use the Open Source OpenDHT distributed storage service to store location updates sent by a small software client installed on an owner's laptop.