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10/1/2013
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John McAfee Wants To Shield You From NSA

Eccentric antivirus company founder pitches $100 gadget meant to help you evade all forms of electronic surveillance.

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Antivirus founder John McAfee wants to sell you a $100 box called D-Central designed to escape the National Security Agency's digital dragnet.

That pitch was made by McAfee -- Twitter tagline: "eccentric millionaire and still alive" -- Saturday during a "fireside chat" at Silicon Valley's C2SV Technology Conference. He said the devices could be used to create local, decentralized networks allowing laptops, tablets and smartphones to communicate and share files, backed by encryption to mask the network activity from any prying eyes.

"There will be no way [for the government] to tell who you are or where you are," McAfee said in his fireside chat, reported The Verge.

McAfee, who in 1987 founded but is no longer involved with the antivirus product company bearing his name, stormed back into the public consciousness last year after becoming a fugitive from justice in Belize, botching an attempted asylum bid in Guatemala, being deported to Miami, and ultimately landing in Portland, Ore., where he now resides.

[ Is the National Security Agency listening to your calls? Read NSA Vs. Your Smartphone: 5 Facts. ]

Since then, McAfee said he's been advancing plans to bring his D-Central to market, especially in the wake of the non-stop revelations over widespread NSA surveillance.

According to McAfee, D-Central will sport a unique encryption scheme that "the NSA won't get into," and be able to create a local Wi-Fi network with a range of about three blocks, which would further complicate efforts to monitor the networks. "Dcentral is the Internet equivalent of the Klingon cloaking device" from Star Trek, McAfee tweeted Monday.

McAfee himself "decloaked" earlier this year, at least in the pop culture sense, after he released a guide to uninstalling McAfee antivirus software, which proved popular with Internet viewers. (Spoiler alert: Some drugs and firearms might be required.)

Now, McAfee also plans to pitch D-Central not just for "privacy and freedom" purposes, but also squarely at pop culture consumers. Given the ease with which the gadgets could be used to enable file sharing, "I cannot imagine any college student not standing in line to buy one of these," McAfee said.

When might D-Central be ready for public vetting? McAfee said he's shooting for a prototype in about six months, and a related "Future Tense" website set up to advertise the product promised Tuesday that more details would be released in 172 days. "We have the design in place, we're looking for partners for development of the hardware," McAfee said.

Still, as noted by Mashable, this isn't the first attempt to create a localized network that offers better security and privacy than your typical hotspot. For example, a $50 Kickstarter-funded device known as FreedomBox will create a local mesh network. According to FreedomBox Foundation program manager Ian Sullivan, the system is meant to "keep your communications free and private whether chatting with friends or protesting in the street," although he emphasized that it could help during disaster response. Similarly, the Occupy movement's Occupy.here offers an "invisible temporary autonomous zone" that allows anyone within physical range of a device to use interact -- via Wi-Fi -- using the equivalent of an offline Web forum that gets carried on and replicated with each subsequent Occupy.here zone that the user encounters.

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Greg MacSweeney
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Greg MacSweeney,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/1/2013 | 5:26:40 PM
re: John McAfee Wants To Shield You From NSA
Klingon cloaking devices, Star Trek, McAfee, "Eccentric Millionaire & Still Alive." This article practically writes itself!
Mathew
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Mathew,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/1/2013 | 7:25:48 PM
re: John McAfee Wants To Shield You From NSA
I am but a medium.
OtherJimDonahue
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50%
OtherJimDonahue,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/1/2013 | 7:44:19 PM
re: John McAfee Wants To Shield You From NSA
You are a medium rare.
OtherJimDonahue
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OtherJimDonahue,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/1/2013 | 7:15:59 PM
re: John McAfee Wants To Shield You From NSA
But who will protect us from John McAfee?
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/1/2013 | 7:35:23 PM
re: John McAfee Wants To Shield You From NSA
Cloaking devices: Perhaps Harry Potter could be of help here, too. I look forward to the next chapter.
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Moderator
10/1/2013 | 8:00:59 PM
re: John McAfee Wants To Shield You From NSA
"There will be no way [for the government] to tell who you are or where you are..." For $100, you too can escape the scrutiny of an agency with $10 billion in annual funding and the legal cover to do pretty much whatever it wants. What a bargain.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/1/2013 | 8:57:15 PM
re: John McAfee Wants To Shield You From NSA
You couldn't invent this guy. Last I'd really paid attention, he'd been arrested on suspicion of murder. And suddenly he pops up with a $100 technology that's going to thwart the NSA.
JFL01
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50%
JFL01,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/2/2013 | 9:16:10 AM
re: John McAfee Wants To Shield You From NSA
Great thinking however i don't think this will see light if it is engineered against the government.
Squeetard
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Squeetard,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/2/2013 | 4:52:49 PM
re: John McAfee Wants To Shield You From NSA
That's cute. John McAfee thinks there are still people in this world who don't know he is a raving lunatic.
asksqn
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asksqn,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/7/2013 | 1:00:41 AM
re: John McAfee Wants To Shield You From NSA
The joke is on consumers who fall forMcAfee's snakeoil - the NSA occupies the backbone of the internet thereby putting its data sniffing devices into optimal positioning for interception. It has also cracked TOR's encryption that can be had for FREE. So in addtn to being spied on w/o a warrant, consumers will also have their money extracted by a con artist. Such a bargain.
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