John McAfee's $100 D-Central aims to outsmart the NSA

The McAfee founder says the gadget will be able to create decentralized networks that won't be accessible by governments.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read
John McAfee
John McAfee John McAfee/Personal Photo

John McAfee has unveiled plans for a new product, called the D-Central, that he promises will keep users safe from the prying eyes of government.

The D-Central will be a hardware product that will cost less than $100, McAfee said in an interview at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center on Saturday. The device will be capable of communicating with smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices to create a series of decentralized local networks. Because those networks are essentially floating around the Web and are private networks, it's practically impossible to nail them down, said McAfee.

During the talk, McAfee acknowledged that the device could be used for "nefarious purposes," but brushed aside any criticism, adding that "the telephone is used for nefarious purposes."

McAfee has become a lightning rod of controversy over the last year. On one hand, he's a legend in Silicon Valley who built his antivirus company into a major name in software. On the other, he's a controversial figure who last year made headlines after fleeing from Belize, where local authorities sought him for questioning during an investigation into the shooting death of his neighbor. During the interview on Saturday, McAfee said that he's innocent and never killed anyone. His decision to flee Belize, he said, was the result of his unwillingness to pay a $2 million bribe.

D-Central, however, might prove to be his most controversial move yet. He said during the interview that he's been kicking around the idea for a couple of years, but decided to accelerate the product's development after former security contractor Edward Snowden leaked details on the US National Security Agency's spying activities. It's possible that the US would not allow McAfee to sell D-Central in the country after it's developed. That prospect, however, didn't worry McAfee, who said he'd sell it anywhere in the world.

"This is coming and cannot be stopped," he said.

McAfee declined to share more details on D-Central, but a Web site for the product has a countdown of 174 days, indicating more information should be coming around that time.

(Via Mercury News)