I recently finished watching the last episode of the CBS TV series, ‘HUNTED’. The show was a contest to discover if any within a group of 9 duo teams could stay undiscovered by a team within .gov who were chasing them. The various teams being hunted (comprised of two people each) only had to remain undiscovered for 28 days and they would win $250,000.
I was intrigued to watch the show and to see where the teams went wrong and to observe how the .gov team functioned/operated to find them.
I was AMAZED to see the same mistakes being made by many of the teams being hunted, because it seemed so obviously apparent that their mistakes would lead the hunters right to them. I was also amazed by a few particularly disturbing techniques that our government agencies are using to track us…
If you have seen ‘Hunted’, the TV show, you likely know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t and have the opportunity to watch it later, it’s an educational experience of do’s and don’t…
The #1 mistake of those being ‘Hunted’
Using a cell phone. The number one electronic gadget to immediately give away their location was their cell phone. Most of us know that cell phones can be easily tracked, and so did those on the ‘hunted’ teams! However they still resorted to using a cell phone at one time or another! Some of them convinced themselves that a burner phone would be safe, however they failed to realize that the government team quickly discovered their various circles of friends and family and were monitoring ALL of their circle’s phones. So when the burner phone called one of their circle of friends/family, the government ‘hunters’ knew it was them!
The #2 mistake of those being ‘Hunted’
Nearly all of the hunted teams felt the need to be around (or with) their circle of friends/family or to escape to one of their circle of friends/family (to ‘hide’). I was amazed at this. Instead of going ‘off grid’ and no contact with anyone else, they evidently felt ‘safer’? with someone they knew or they felt the need to have one of them ‘help’ them in some way. This presented massive clues and places ‘to hunt’ for .gov, and it worked…
The #3 mistake of those being ‘Hunted’
The government has the ability to ‘listen in’ to phone conversations. I have written countless articles here on .gov surveillance, and while being no surprise whatsoever to me, there are many people who refuse to accept that deep government surveillance on American citizens is not only possible but it is occurring all the time (just search NSA on this site for some examples). The government team during the TV show clearly and specifically listens in on ‘content’ of phone calls (not just ‘metadata’) and this helped them catch some of the hunted…
The #4 mistake of those being ‘Hunted’
ATM’s. This may have actually been #2, but I’m just brainstorming here… I was AMAZED how many of those being hunted went to an ATM machine to get cash!! I was also somewhat amazed to see the government teams quickly tapping in to the cameras that are on most ALL ATM machines! Those who were being hunted did not have enough cash at home to suffice for their 28-day ‘hide’, and while most of them knew that the electronic transaction would quickly set off red flags, they still had to get money – and then run away as quickly as they could (which did not always work the way they planned). Lesson learned… Keep enough cash at home!!
The #5 mistake of those being ‘Hunted’
License plate readers. I knew of these, however I had not realized the apparent extent at which license plate readers located at unknown and numerous locations on the highways around major cities, hubs, and other locations – are scooping up EVERY AND ALL license plates that drive by. They KNOW where you’re traveling while on the highways of America. The locations of those who were being hunted would be discovered every time they drove past a license plate reader/scanner.
The #6 mistake of those being ‘Hunted’
Staying within ‘the system’ (transportation, communications, lodging). This generally might be the #1 mistake… while attempting to get ‘off the grid’ many of these teams would still be within the grid so to speak. There were a few teams that truly ‘camped out’, but they were eventually caught by other ‘electronic’ mistakes that they made. They could not resist using their gadgets (ATM machine) or succumbing to a modern desire (one team just had to go out and get ice cream to celebrate). Most of them chose to travel in a vehicle – often a friend’s vehicle (instead of hopping on a bicycle for example and leaving no trace via someone else). Few of them were apparently unable to ‘rough it’ and simply get off the streets and hide/survive for 28 days without having to hit an ATM, call a friend, use their email, etc…
Not only did I find it interesting to observe the mistakes made by those being hunted, it was highly revealing (yet again) the extent at which we have zero privacy from our own government. It is nearly impossible to be outside the massive net of surveillance – much of which seems to me to be unconstitutional. But that’s just me… Most people just don’t care.