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

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.
Written by Michael Lee, Contributor on

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.

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