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McAfee teases NSA-busting privacy gadget

McAfee teases NSA-busting privacy gadget

McAfee's new Future Tense Central venture promises to launch an NSA-proof communications scrambling box for just $100, but he's being coy with details.

Infamous security software specialist John McAfee has found a new way to hit headlines: the planned launch of an encrypted private networking system which he claims will thwart the best efforts of the National Security Agency (NSA) to snoop on private citizens.

McAfee is no stranger to controversy. While best known for being one of the pioneers of shareware-licensed anti-virus software, sold under his surname, his entrepreneurial start came surrounding a different type of virus: when concern over AIDS in San Francisco's gay community was at its height, McAfee made a comfortable living selling cards that marked the bearer as being free from HIV for six months from the date of a high-price blood test.

Following a heart attack in 1993, McAfee gave up the more damaging aspects of his hedonistic lifestyle - alcoholism and drug use - but continued to spend his money, made from licensing the McAfee anti-virus and later general computer security applications, on the pursuit of pleasure.

His semi-retirement in Belize came to a crashing halt in 2012 when police from the gang suppression unit raided his home and arrested McAfee for unlicensed drug manufacturing and possession of an unlicensed weapon. While being released without charge, McAfee was sought by police mere months later as a potential suspect in the murder of his neighbour. Rather than report for questioning, McAfee - described as 'extremely paranoid, even bonkers' by prime minster Dean Barrow of Belize - fled to Guatemala where he was arrested for illegal entry and deported back to the US.

It's here that McAfee has clearly decided to seek a return to his heyday with plans to launch a device dubbed D-Central, with the promise of protecting its users against electronic eavesdropping by the National Security Agency.

The device, its name a pun on 'decentral,' is claimed to retail for $100 and features peer-to-peer networking technology coupled with an encryption system which is designed to anonymise the user while scrambling their communications from anyone but the intended recipient. According to a speech given by McAfee at the San Jose McEnery Convention Centre this past weekend, as reported by The Verge, the system works around the principle of creating a 'dark web' overlay on top of existing networks like the Internet.

Sadly, McAfee is thus far being coy about how his $100 device would work, and how it differs from existing systems: The Onion Router (TOR) project, for instance, offers a similar 'dark web' and encrypted system which sits on top of existing networks, and can be installed on low-cost and low-power computing devices like the Raspberry Pi for whole-network protection if required.

McAfee has founded a new venture for the project, dubbed Future Tense Central, the website for which promises to reveal more details in 173 days.

9 Comments

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Woodspoon 1st October 2013, 11:38 Quote
Maybe it's just me but, how to attract the attention of the NSA - say your product is NSA proof.
Corky42 1st October 2013, 11:59 Quote
For some reason James McCormick's fake bomb detector springs to mind when i read this :)
Draksis 1st October 2013, 12:45 Quote
headlines 6 months from now: "NSA uses D-Central to spy on everyone. Also bypasses high end security with finger print scans from iPhone 5"

:p
IvanIvanovich 1st October 2013, 12:54 Quote
It's a McAfee product, so it will probably be pretty effective. It just makes the computer so damn slow you won't use it anymore... NSA proof.
liratheal 1st October 2013, 13:27 Quote
Would you trust a man to encrypt your data and hide you from the NSA if he can't even hide himself with his millions of dollars from Guatemalan Police?
ChaosDefinesOrder 1st October 2013, 13:41 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by IvanIvanovich
It's a McAfee product, so it will probably be pretty effective. It just makes the computer so damn slow you won't use it anymore... NSA proof.

Heh, that was my first thought too!
John_T 1st October 2013, 13:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodspoon
Maybe it's just me but, how to attract the attention of the NSA - say your product is NSA proof.

Pretty much what I was thinking.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
For some reason James McCormick's fake bomb detector springs to mind when i read this :)

That too.
PingCrosby 2nd October 2013, 10:40 Quote
Anything that has McAfee on it and is found on my computer is obliterated immediately and sent into the void in a squillion pieces
Gareth Halfacree 2nd October 2013, 11:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by PingCrosby
Anything that has McAfee on it and is found on my computer is obliterated immediately and sent into the void in a squillion pieces
My all-time favourite interview quote ever is on that subject, when McAfee was asked in 2012 - long after he'd sold his stake in the company - whether he used McAfee anti-virus.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Thomson, "Four hours with John McAfee," Financial Times, December 7th 2012
There was just one more question, though: “Do you have McAfee antivirus on your computer?” He looked at me and put down his cigarette. “I take it off,” he said. “It’s too annoying.”
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