Barking mad or inspired genius, controversial entrepreneur and wild child John McAfee has put the cat among the pigeons again with an announcement at C2SV Technology Conference + Music Festival last month that he plans to make a new pocket sized gadget that will makes peoples internet connection ‘NSA-proof’.
John MacAfee rose to fame as the darling of the tech-world through the success of his famous anti-virus company (once worth $100 million), but it is the wild antics of his personal life, most notably hiding out in the jungles of Belize when wanted by the FBI for murder last year, that has increasingly dominated headlines. McAfee’s bizarre video released in June this year, in which explains how to uninstall his ant-virus while he snorts drugs and talks about hiring a ‘Bankok prostitutes to do my taxes while I fucked my accountant’ hardly helps.
All of which makes it somewhat difficult to know how to take his latest announcement – is it a pie-in-the sky goofball idea, or a serious solution to Edward’s Snowden’s on-going revelations about blanket NSA surveillance?
Still apparently at the prototype stage (McAfee has set up a website featuring a countdown to when the device will be released), the sub-$100 gadget will be iOS and Android compatible, and will allow all smartphones and tablets within a ‘three block area’ (or a quarter mile in the country) to connect to the internet anonymously.
The idea for this ‘D-Central’ device, which would work much like a ‘darknet’ where users connect to each other over by series of interlinked P2P nodes, creating a large distributed network could, at least in theory, work. However, the US government is unlikely to take kindly to such technology, and many are wary of McAfee making such a high profile announcement about it.
Not that these concerns worry McAfee however, who brushed them off with, ‘I’ll sell it in England, Japan, the Third World. This is coming and cannot be stopped.’ He is also confident of a demand for his device, stating that ‘I cannot imagine one college student in the world who will not stand in line to get one.’
We will certainly be fascinated to see if this gizmo actually materialises, and how it is received!
Here is the C2SV interview in full