I came across an article a few weeks ago that truly blew me away. 12,000 Laptops are last each week, 10% of that at LAX alone. That comes out to about 650K laptops that are lost nationally. some eventually managed to reclaim it. Still that is a staggering number. (There are some who dispute this number. Even if the number gets revised lower, say half, that's still a lot of laptops lost no matter how you try to spin the numbers.)
Then again, should we really be surprised by this? A couple of years ago, an IRS laptop with employee information was lost. 12,000 Commerce laptops are unaccounted for. These are the ones we know about. The Register has information in UK's lost/stolen laptop escapades. Whether it's the government, credit bureaus, or companies that are so careless and lax with our data, we should do what we can by protecting ourselves. We must do more to protect ourselves.
First let's stop losing laptops at airports. Here's an idea. If half of you reading this are Star Trek or other science fiction fans, you'll know what it means when the sensor officer yells out "proximity alert!" means.
Maybe someone can create a wireless tethering device. Instead of a collision warning, a proximity alarm will go off when you are too far from your laptop for a certain period of time. You will have to carry a wireless device though. It can work through bluetooth or infrared.
This alert mechanism can be on the laptop or the bag carrying the laptop. As a mobile warrior, your mobile device is your most important asset. This way, you will always know when you're too far from your laptop or your laptop is being carried away from you.
What else can be done? Computer bag manufacturers are designing airport friendly laptops that can go through the x-ray machines without you having to remove the laptop from the carrier.
The most natural thing to do is to keep an eye on your laptop at all time. No matter if you're at the security checkpoints at airports or Starbucks, it's just a prudent thing to do.