06 May 2014

"SmartWater" explained

Yafet Askale, 28, denied breaking into the vehicle which had been fitted with a traceable liquid called SmartWater, which contains a dye that becomes visible under ultra violet light.    Photo: Reuters
From Wikipedia:
SmartWater is a proprietary forensic asset marking system that is applied to personal, commercial, and industrial items of value to deter theft and to identify culprits for prosecution. The non-hazardous liquid leaves a long-lasting and unique identifier that is invisible to the naked eye except under an ultraviolet black light.
Its use is described at The Telegraph:
Brent Police have recently been working with SmartWater using trap cars and houses equipped with technology to deter thieves from committing crime and to catch those that do.

Residents have also been provided with free kits to mark valuable property with the substance within their homes which has led to reductions in burglary and street robbery and 80 and 40 percent respectively. 
The company's website is here.


  1. "SMART" water, long lasting? Pretty soon we'll all be cross contaminated! Great idea.

  2. How is UV reactive a 'unique identifier'? I've used white towels that left me covered in glowing lint very similar to what is depicted here. Vaseline and similar products glow...
    +1 for concerns of cross contamination. How do the residents NOT become suspects if they are handling the marked items, too?

    Reminds me of the xerox machine used as a lie detector... (the suspect answers questions, the officer prints out a sheet that says, 'he is lying' until a confession is collected.

    1. I think you've totally missed the point. It's not the UV reaction that's important - it's the forensic marking embedded in the product:

      "Your SmartWater forensic solution carries a chemical code which is unique to you – we never make the same SmartWater code twice. The SmartWater chemical code within your solution, together with your name and address details, are stored on our off-line secure database, which is maintained to the highest international standards of ISO27001. Should any of your valuables be stolen and subsequently recovered by the Police, our forensic scientists can analyse traces of SmartWater on the item to identify the chemical code. This is then checked against our database thus establishing its true owner."

      There's more at the link. That's why I put links in my blog posts.


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