I started watching a television show this evening called “Hunted”, where a group of people are given the opportunity to try and win £100,000 by “not getting caught” for 28 days. In the show, a team of “experts” are supposedly using modern methods to track the individuals from their starting point in the middle of a city. Each of the people being hunted has a cameraman with them, and access to a bank account with £250 in it. They can also call on the help of family and friends.
Here’s what annoyed me – the hunters can visit the family of any person taking part. The family have to agree to them visiting, and they are allowed to look at phones and computers. They took the phone from the first person they interrogated, and installed a root kit on it, along with surveillance tools.
I’m sorry – but that’s illegal. If I had been any of those families, I would have immediately called the police. Because it’s obviously a condition of taking part in the show, the people being investigated would have signed waivers (I’m guessing), but it immediately makes the entire show a complete and utter mockery.
Also, the hunters have access to the bank records of the money given to the people being hunted – so they can see the withdrawals.
Even though the show is obviously scripted, and ridiculously contrived, it did get me thinking about what you would do to win;
- Inform family and friends that you will be taking part, and that you will be completely out of contact for 28 days.
- Immediately dispose of your mobile phone. You will use a public phone box if you need to call home in an emergency.
- Immediately withdraw all of the cash the programme makers have given you (you will not be using the bank account again)
And that’s pretty much it – you would “go dark” – not visiting any towns or cities for the duration of the exercise. I noticed the people being hunted were allowed to take provisions and equipment with them. It’s not going to be difficult to take enough dehydrated food to survive for a month. You would essentially find a spare room in a house in a remote town, and pay somebody all of the money the programme makers have given you to rent the room, no questions asked – and then keep yourself to yourself for 28 days – never leaving the house.
Of course none of the people on the TV show are doing anything this sensible – which exposes the whole thing as a work of fiction really, because surely any intelligent person would be able to figure out how to leave no paper trail ?
Hell – putting my professional hat on for a few moments, there would be nothing to stop you keeping in touch with family via computers in public libraries (for example) – visiting the web interfaces of IRC services, and communicating via random chat rooms. Of course the weak link is going to be the family you talk to – so you wouldn’t do it. People are always the weakest link.
Postscript – it gets worse. If you think about it, the CCTV from towns and cities is fake, because the producers would not have access to it. Also, number plate recognition would not be available, so that is fake too. It would appear the camera crews are communicating in the location of the people being hunted – which makes perfect sense, but also makes the show look absolutely ridiculous – kind of like playing hide-and-seek with somebody standing next to you with a giant foam hand pointing at you, shouting “THEY’RE HERE!”