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John McAfee…Being John McAfee

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John McAfee. . . Being John McAfee

Emily Sierra Poertner

John McAfee is dead. Except he isn’t. One of Roanoke College’s most well known and bizarre alumni is back in the spotlight again after recent claims that he died of a drug overdose.

Last year John McAfee, creator of the popular antivirus software, fled Belize where he had been living to escape questioning by police after the murder of his neighbor. He believed the police were out to frame him, so spent several months in hiding before returning to the States.

After clearing the air that he is not, in fact, dead, John McAfee has come back onto the scene with something new. In a recent interview with CNBC he said, “we’re not much different from Hitler’s Germany in that respect, in terms of, ‘If we want information as a government, we’re going to get it'”. When talking about websites giving information to the NSA he said, “They have guns. Google does not.”

This, slightly off the deep end, McAfee persona has prompted his new concept. He wants to make the internet safer for users, putting privacy first. Despite his unorthodox world view, this is a very respectable endeavor. Especially with the heightened concern most people have about the reach of the US government and personal privacy from departments like the NSA.

In an interview with Mercury News, McAfee said, “my new technology is going to provide a new type of Internet, a decentralized, floating and moving Internet that is impossible to hack, impossible to penetrate and vastly superior in terms of its facility and neutrality. It solves all of our security concerns”.

McAfee has yet to go into detail about his new project but he is set to speak at C2SV this weekend about this new idea. He’s been very cryptic in exactly what the project is. To CNBC he described it as “very localized”.

“You see these people wandering around the park here? If they were all connected in a way where within 50 ft., 100 ft. or something you could set if there were people in your group or friend set or what have you could all be communicating and as you walked, your friend set would constantly change,” explained McAfee.

He plans on funding the project himself, though finding partners for his new company may be difficult. On top of his recent issues with police in Belize he has a less than desirable persona. He’s a big spender and traveler, known for chasing girls far younger than he is. The past year has made McAfee very well known, but not for the best reasons.

His media identity doesn’t seem to bother him though. He realizes that may sway people’s opinions of him, but as he said to CNBC, “everything I’ve touched turns to gold”.

All of McAfee’s shenanigans have attracted some positive attention. A biography of him is currently being written, Warner Brothers is making a film based on his life, and a documentary is also in the making. He himself has also started to make YouTube videos. Some of the videos are inappropriate for younger viewers, but they do fully illustrate McAfee’s unusual personality.