Hunted: Rural areas are connected, but in an entirely different way | The Friday Article

In a post-Leveson society and with the Investigatory Powers Bill making its way through Parliament, ethics and surveillance remains a hot topic in the western world. The mystery and eeriness concealing the spying powers of the state has been exposed in Channel 4’s brilliant reality/gameshow/drama, Hunted – which returned for a second series last night.

Underneath its tense and suspenseful tone, the show asks: if you had to hide from expert hunters for 28 days, where would you run?

Avoiding London is an obvious point to make, and a new infographic by We Sell Electrical shows just how flawed a decision to stay in the capital could be, with more than 13,000 CCTV cameras watching our every move in the city.

Photo: We Sell Electrical (www.wesellelectrical.co.uk)
Photo: We Sell Electrical (www.wesellelectrical.co.uk)

Newcastle is the major city with the fewest cameras – with only 79 of them present in the area. However, with cities being complete with video sightings, ATM and more, it’s unsurprising that most fugitives from the last series and this series are staying clear of London and other big cities. Instead, the quieter rural areas – where technology is lacking – seems to be the obvious choice for those on the run.

With MPs continuing to work on plans regarding getting more rural areas online, the question of whether the current lack of connection in villages is something fugitives can exploit is an interesting one. Yet, this delay has prompted villagers and those living in the countryside to come up with traditional but effective ways of sharing information.

Photo: Rafael Parr on Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons - https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode.
Photo: Rafael Parr on Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons – https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode.

It’s something we see a lot on television dramas, documentaries and more. People know when someone new arrives in their area because word of mouth is so strong in the countryside. Something we saw in the first series of Hunted was the hunters handing out leaflets in these communities because when such a large group of people are on the lookout for a person – often incentivised with a possible cash reward – it’s almost as though the hunters have extra recruits on the team.

At the end of the day, it comes down to which is more valuable to these investigative teams: a close-knit community with word-of-mouth at its heart, or a rural area which has only just joined the grid? Of course, places with internet connections are obviously great for surveillance, but if Parliament does indeed make the push to get more villages and northern places online, then which is the best asset for these communities and the hunters? Old or new? Word of mouth, or online?

Liam

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