I’ve spent a lot of time lately thinking about privacy — or rather, the lack thereof. The NSA scandal, Google’s admission that gmail users shouldn’t expect privacy, and Facebook’s recent announcement about an AI team pursuing deep learning so they can better infiltrate our lives and try to sell us stuff have prompted me to contemplate Facebook and Google — or at least, any of their free services (I still want the glasses). I’ve even been thinking about how to give a big F-U to the corporations who don’t have any reservations when it comes to invading our privacy, and who in fact make gobs of money from doing so. I’m currently considering installing Flagger, a browser extension that adds red-flag key words to website URLs and generates a bunch of noise and extra work for those NSA folks, and using Turtl instead of Google Docs. Now, those of us who have had it with privacy violations have another weapon to use in the fight: D-Central, a piece of hardware that supposedly will make it next to impossible for the government to spy on us.
D-Central’s designer is none other than John McAfee, who you might not know by name (at least, not his first name), but who most people know because of his popular anti-virus software (FYI: he hasn’t been involved with the software in over 15 years). The $100 piece of hardware will, as McAfee puts it, “provide a new type of Internet” — the unhackable type. Instead of using a typical centralized network, McAFee’s device will create decentralized local networks that any mobile device can use. A decentralized network is tough to infiltrate — not only is it private, but it’s dynamic, “floating and moving.”
McAfee did acknowledge that the device could be used for “nefarious purposes,” though hackers and the spying eyes of the government are his primary concerns. Plus, as McAfee pointed out, pretty much any device can be used for evil, including computers and smartphones.
While we’re on the subject of nefarious purposes, it may warrant mentioning that McAfee himself has been involved in some questionable conduct. He left his home in Belize last year and went on the lam when authorities allegedly wanted him for questioning in connection with McAfee’s neighbor’s shooting death.
He’ll certainly make a splash as he returns to the spotlight with D-Central, an idea he toyed with for a while before being galvanized into action by the Edward Snowden controversy. One consequence of D-Central could be a fight to legally sell it — if it really makes it next to impossible for the NSA to do its job, it might be outlawed. But, as McAfee has done before, he’d probably just head to another country and make it available there. According to McAfee, “this is coming and cannot be stopped.” If nothing else, the guy has a flair for the dramatic.
The rest of the specifics concerned D-Central are, appropriately, being kept under wraps for now. According to the official product website, in approximately 174 days we’ll all get more information. Until then, he’s keeping it private.