The onetime technology wunderkind, who left a job working for Lockheed to turn his curiosity about computer viruses into a thriving, global corporation showed up at two Las Vegas hacker cons last week: B-Sides Las Vegas and DEFCON. He offered some off-the-cuff rebukes to firms like Google.
He also rambled long and hard about the dark forces that pursue him: the U.S. government, the government of Belize, Central American drug cartels and script kiddies desperate for his (virtual) scalp. Everywhere he goes, people take his picture. Who are they working for? The phones and computers he buys are bugged. His movements are being tracked. Those in attendance were admonished to beware of government snooping — especially via mobile applications. “Without privacy there is no freedom,” McAfee intoned.
Listening to McAfee rant, it’s easy to forget there were plenty of folks walking the halls of Defcon, Black Hat, and B-Sides who actually were there to make the world a better place in very concrete ways.