John McAfee's D-Central-ised net to poke NSA's prying eyes

John McAfee's D-Central-ised net to poke NSA's prying eyes

Summary: John McAfee is back in the technology industry he "can't seem to escape" with a miniature personal network device that connects to others without revealing who the owner is in order to provide anonymous access to information.

TOPICS: Security, Privacy

John McAfee is back with a new company that is attempting to circumvent the NSA's ability to track individuals.

Speaking at the C2SV music and technology festival over the weekend in San Jose, McAfee revealed a little more about the technology company he is forming and its first product. The company is named Future Tense and its first product is a small device called D-Central.

At the moment, Future Tense's website contains nothing more than a countdown to some time in March 23 next year (the countdown lists the 10th second of 2.07pm but doesn't appear to take timezones into account) and a form for interested parties to leave their email address if they're interested.

McAfee criticised the security of modern day communications, and believed that the existing infrastructure was too vulnerable to attack.

"I'm 68 years old and if you can just give me any small amount of information about yourself, I promise you within three days, I can turn on the camera on your computer at home and watch you do whatever you're doing, provided you're still connected to the net," he said.

"If I can do it, any idiot can do it. We live in a very insecure world with a very insecure communications platform."

However, McAfee said he wasn't foolish enough to create an entire new internet as reports have previously suggested. Instead, his idea revolves around a small screen-less device that is able to be dropped into a bag, or even a shoe. D-Central creates a miniature network with a range of about three blocks in a city environment, or about 400m in more rural areas.

It runs in two modes, a private network that employs its own encryption, but also identifies everyone that is participating. The second mode, however, provides more anonymity.

The second mode allows users to drop files into a public area, while simultaneously making requests for other files. D-Central users' networks mesh together as the user moves, and if any file request can be honoured, it is sent to the appropriate user.

However, none of the devices have any identifiers, and users cannot be tracked.

"Since the networks are invisible to each other and in constant flux, there is simply no way to tell who is doing what, when or where."

McAfee also plans to have nodes with internet connectivity in each major US city. However, visibility of communications are again limited to these nodes and are protected with encryption. Once it reaches the individual networks of those carrying D-Central devices, he says that user anonymity is again restored.

McAfee is currently looking for partners to develop the hardware and is about six months out from its first prototype.

The full C2SV interview is available on YouTube, with McAfee talking about his new company at 24m 31s.

Topics: Security, Privacy

Michael Lee

About Michael Lee

A Sydney, Australia-based journalist, Michael Lee covers a gamut of news in the technology space including information security, state Government initiatives, and local startups.

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  • The world is infested with terrorists that need to be spied on

    I'm not sure who he is helping with this technology. We trade our rights away every day when we sign up for credit cards, loyalty cards, apply for a job, whatever. Yet suddenly giving up a little privacy to the NSA is unthinkable.

    Well, there are terrorists everywhere, and while it isn't politically correct to say, they are predominantly Muslim, and they have a kamikaze world-view that precludes negotiation or compromise. We need to do whatever is necessary to find them because they are motivated to do whatever is necessary to achieve their aims.

    I would question any neighbor of mine who would support a technology that makes it easier for religious deviants to blow things up in the hope of being surrounded by virgins.
    • Here I thought you were being facetious.

      You're actually serious!


      You mean you actually *bought* all that Bush whohaa?
      • Are going to feel the same way about toddlers?
        • What do toddlers have to do with anything?

          Are toddlers in any way capable of spying?

          And since you are obsessed with death, who cares how many toddlers kill people? It's a stupid accident on the part of the parent or guardian that inevitably allows a situation where death can be a possible outcome.

          People die crossing the street all the time, but we don't close every crosswalk. Why should be freak out at the occasional toddler incident?
          • Tool

            You tell us, Einstein. You're freaking out about the occasional terrorist incident, willing to give up all your freedoms for something that virtually NEVER happens. Tool.
            Jack Rickowicz
    • Simple/Simplistic

      Terrorists Types strategically use the same simple bag of tricks to successfully commandeer simplistic International Media Types. With very small investment of resources and manpower, they thereby score Headlines disproportionately. Sowing seeds of fear and paranoia. Look at the Headlines garnered by even false alarms. And fortunes wasted on stifling, overkill security measures.
      And what they already harness to accomplish all this mayhem are Internet, Smart Phones, Videos; all things electronic. Just the type of technology you and your 'neighbour... support'. Even corner Phone Booths are utilized to nefarious ends. I question your true loyalties.
      It's clearly not " up a little privacy". The issues are not merely that. Pffft! That's just being disingenuous and simplistic.
      It's not "...there are terrorists everywhere". That's verging on paranoia. 'Anywhere' yes, but not 'everywhere'. My!
      You overrate this Technology's potential for evil. Dictator Types love Folk like you to eat for lunch. These cCeeps want to know where every firearm is, as we used to have in Canada for some years. Or want to eavesdrop on Electronic Communication indiscriminately.
      You then grossly underestimate the abuses of rogue elements of the US Gov't that are now a matter of record. The problem for them is that this record is increasingly becoming exposed in Public.
      'Strain at a gnat; swallow a camel'
    • croberts

      A little privacy? What are you, an NSA tool? I'm sticking with the constitution. People who would take my freedom and tell me it's for my own good scare me far more than any terrorist. You, pal, are the problem.
      Jack Rickowicz
  • Real terrorists

    ... probably are off grid. I imagine they're like Gene Hackman's character in Enemy of the State
    I'd say these products are for normal people or small companies as substitute for WiFi. NSA or others with access to infrastructure will still take advantage of man-in-the-middle prying techniques.