John McAfee is Back, Not Being Idle

John McAfee is back. A year has past since he fled Belize because authorities suspected him of murdering his neighbor, which he still insists didn’t happen. “Belize is the murder capital o...
John McAfee is Back, Not Being Idle
Written by Lacy Langley
  • John McAfee is back. A year has past since he fled Belize because authorities suspected him of murdering his neighbor, which he still insists didn’t happen. “Belize is the murder capital of the world,” he said this week. “It’s a very violent, very dangerous place.” Since returning to America, he has holed up in Portland, Oregon and has lived the hermit life.

    But times have been iffy for the McAfee creator. NBC reports that a few months ago, he posted a suggestive video on YouTube mocking his former anti-virus software company. And just last week he had to respond to a false report that he had died of an overdose in Las Vegas. McAfee was angry and said the hoax was not a publicity stunt. In fact he spent a lot of time frantically contacting friends who believed he was dead.

    He explained the phenomenon this way: “When I’m idle,” he told CNBC, “I get in trouble. Even when I’m not idle I sometimes get in trouble.” Ok. Well, now he’s back in Silicon Valley, taking meetings, speaking at technology events and promoting new ventures. “I’m not going back to the jungle,” he said. “I enjoyed it for a while. I think cities are more my thing now.”

    The park where his NBC interview took place was near the Ecuadorean Consulate. Apparently, McAfee had spent the morning there. He mentioned that he has a place in Ecuador and might want to visit, but not stay again.

    When he was asked about the current crowd of tech companies that exist more than 25 years after hitting it big with McAfee anti-virus software, McAfee said, “There’s really only one hot tech company right now and that’s Google … the owner of the world’s information is the ruler of the world.”

    He said he doesn’t blame companies like Google for handing over information to the National Security Agency. “They have guns. Google does not,” he said.

    McAfee will speak at C2SV, a highly anticipated tech and music event in Silicon Valley. It will be his first professional event of that nature since returning to the U.S. He plans to unveil an amazing new type of communication technology product he’s developing. The only hint he would give away ahead of time is that the product will be a localized networking platform.

    “See these people wandering around the park here? If they were all connected in a way where within 50 feet, 100 feet … you could all be communicating, and as you walked, your friend set would constantly change,” he said. McAfee is self-funding the venture and meeting privately with potential technology partners in Palo Alto, California. He said the new project will cost him “in the seven figures”.

    McAfee says the most visionary tech leader right now is Kim Dotcom, the man accused by the U.S. government of alleged copyright fraud on a grand scale through his now-defunct website Megaupload. “Look at what the man did, for heaven’s sake,” said McAfee. “He single-handedly collected a double-digit percentage of the Internet traffic. Do you realize how monumental this is?”

    Critics might hold the opinion that Dotcom grabbed that share by stealing content. “He’s a criminal only if you believe the party line that ‘If I created it, it is mine’ … content will have to be free eventually,” McAfee said.

    But the readers of TechWeek seemed be more fond of McAfee and gave him the most votes in a poll about who should be the next CEO of Microsoft. He found the results of the poll laughable, but if he was CEO of the struggling company, he said: “I would fire almost everybody … (Microsoft) has become archaic in its thinking, and it’s because for so long, there was only one thinker in the company, and that was Bill Gates. He’s a mighty fine thinker, I admit. Not very good socially, I wouldn’t want to have dinner with him. However, a fine thinker.”

    Who would McAfee like to portray him in the movie that Warner Brothers is developing based on McAfee’s adventures? Bryan Cranston, of course. He portrays chemistry teacher-turned-drug-lord Walter White in “Breaking Bad”. He added, “I think he would be perfect.”

    As for McAfee Inc., the company he created and then dumped? “I don’t use the software myself, haven’t used it for years.”


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