Stolen Art? There’s an App for That!
The ID-Art app, a new application being used by Interpol to help track and identify stolen art, has been launched. The app attempts to offer real-time access to the policing agency’s files, including photos and descriptions of missing art pieces, to the general public. Users can browse through the missing objects or use the reverse image function to check if a piece has been reported stolen. They can also upload images of things to report a theft.
The database has already been used in numerous cases. One of those cases included the recovery of a Roman marble statue. This is meant to make using it easier and more accessible to all law enforcement agencies. In addition, the database has over fifty thousand missing pieces of art listed. Users can also use the app to keep detailed records of their own collections in case of future theft. The ID-Art app is available in multiple languages and can be downloaded for both Android and iPhone users.
If a user uploads an image that finds a match, they are prompted to report the item. Interpol hopes making it so easily accessible will increase the number of stolen items recovered. During its pilot phase, the app has already recovered two sculptures and two paintings. Interpol hopes this new tool will cut down on the number of art dealers and collectors who unwittingly purchase stolen goods. Provence surrounding culturally significant works is sometimes tough to verify.
According to the Interpol website, “This new tool is a significant step forward in enhancing the ability of police officers, cultural heritage professionals, and the general public to protect our common heritage.”