John McAfee announces US presidential bid

September 9, 2015 | 12:39

Tags: #intel-security #politics #president

Companies: #government #intel #john-mcafee #mcafee #us-government

John McAfee, founder of the eponymous security firm acquired by Intel and swiftly rebranded, has announced that he is to run for US President in an election campaign kicking off next year. This, apparently, is not a joke.

John McAfee has long had a financial interest in viruses, but not always computers. His entrepreneurial beginnings are found in the sale of cards marking the bearer as free from the AIDS virus to concerned members of San Francisco's gay community, before he realised that computer viruses could prove more lucrative. By 1993 McAfee's infamously hedonistic lifestyle had caught up with him in the form of a heart attack, but while he toned down the alcohol and drug consumption his major focus was still the pursuit of pleasure.

After a few years away from the limelight McAfee hit headlines once again in 2012 when his semi-retirement in Belize was rudely interrupted by a raid from the gang suppression unit. McAfee found himself accused of unlicensed drug manufacture and possession of an unlicensed weapon, and while being released without charge was sought again by police as a potential suspect in the murder of his neighbour. While admitting no wrongdoing McAfee chose to flee to Guatemala rather than face questioning, whereupon he was detained for illegal entry and deported back to the US once again.

That rather colourful background goes some way to explaining the tech industry's incredulity, then, to McAfee's announcement that he would be running for the position of President of the United States of America - the country he only returned to forcibly following deportation from Guatemala. Despite being born in the UK to a British mother, McAfee would be eligible for the position thanks to his birth taking place on the US military base where his father was serving at the time.

Announced via technology magazine Wired, it's hard to know how seriously to take McAfee's run for presidential office. He claims 'many thousands of emails' in support of his campaign, which is to focus on a security perspective, but his chequered past and publicity stunts such as this amusingly entirely unsafe-for-work video blasting the software he once helped create make his election an unlikely outcome.
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