John McAfee, security software pioneer, talks to CSO about his bid for the White House

In an interview with CSO contributors Ira Winkler and Araceli Treu Gomes, the cybersecurity guru discusses why he wants someone literate in technology to run the country.

It has been a whirlwind few years for John McAfee, the man noted for developing the first commercial anti-virus program. It was only a few years ago when rumors were frantically flying around in following an incredibly sensational story of McAfee as a murder suspect. With all of that seemingly behind him, he now turns his attention to taking up residency in the White House.

McAfee, 70, who founded the McAfee security brand, which was later sold to Intel in 2010, recently filed papers as a candidate for president as a member of the Cyber Party. McAfee’s political views are likely to be viewed by many as out of the mainstream, and he believes that if the government is not working for the people, then the citizens have the right to abolish it. He believes that the government has gotten too big and unwieldy. He often cites how it would take 600 years to read all of the laws Congress has passed through the years.

In a video interview with McAfee, Ira Winkler and Araceli Treu Gomes talked to the candidate about his purely electronic campaign. His first matter of business is partnering to create a federal awareness app that would act as an aggregator for voters to receive 500-character messages each day from each candidate. He called it a “mini Twitter.”

“I am using the technology I know best to facilitate becoming president,” he said, adding that he recently had his platform tattooed on his chest. This would make him the first tattooed president, he claims. This will help get him elected because “inked people stick together.”

McAfee said he feels as though what he is doing will go under the radar until election day and the world is going to be shocked when he is elected. “It will be landslide,” he said. Right now voters are disenfranchised because “It’s hard to go out and vote when your options are a case of food poisoning or the flu.”

He wants to use that platform to debate the American people, not the other presidential candidates. “Why would I waste my time debating Donald Trump. He is not going to vote for me no matter what I say,” McAfee said.

Some highlights of his policies include being pro choice and legalizing marijuana. He said in defending decriminalizing marijuana, “If you get addicted to heroine, that is its own punishment, I am sorry.”

He would like the United States to stay out of the affairs of other countries, saying that being the world’s policeman for the past 50 years has gotten the country hated by many. “Let the affairs of other countries sort themselves out.”

But he believes the loss of privacy has been the biggest dilemma of recent years. He notes the government surveillance as a prime example of lawmakers overstepping their bounds. “we are governed by people who are largely illiterate in cybersecurity. Cyber warfare is now the means of war. My government is dysfunctional…” he said.

Life before the campaign

The British-born, but U.S-raised McAfee founded the antivirus company named after him in 1987. He resigned from McAfee Associates in 1994 and later cashed in on an IPO. His wealth at one time was estimated at $100 million, but a downturn in the economy resulted in a dwindled bank account that amounted to $4 million, according to Wikipedia. McAfee was sold to Intel in 2010 and Intel no longer uses the name McAfee on any of its products.

McAfee allegedly ran into trouble in Belize a few years ago. According to news reports, on Nov. 12, 2012, Belize police pursued McAfee as a "person of interest" in connection to the murder of his neighbor American expatriate Gregory Viant Faull. Faull was found dead of a gunshot wound the day before at his home on the island of Ambergris Caye.

In a November 2012 interview with Wired, McAfee said that he has always been afraid police would kill him and thus refused to answer their questions. A series of odd events unfurled from there as a website was being updated in his name, indicating what was occurring during his time on the run and eventually while being held in Guatemala, according to an interview with Network World.

On Dec. 12, 2012, McAfee was released from detention in Guatemala and deported to the United States. As of last year, Belizean police have not sought McAfee's imprisonment for any of the crimes they accused him of. However, they have auctioned off McAfee's seized assets, and his home was burned down.

Trouble again found him in August of this year when he was arrested for driving while intoxicated and and possessing a handgun while intoxicated, according to Wikipedia.

The election issues

According to his website, one slogan he professes is “Make America Free Again”. Below are his views on the hot button issues facing the country. These views were taken directly from McAfee’s Web site.

Foreign Policy:

We are not a police agency for the world. Our foreign involvements must be reigned in, and attention should be placed on looking at our own issues. While domestic policy will be the major focus of a McAfee administration, we will employ a foreign policy that augments our domestic policy.

War on Drugs

Reduced criminalization. Mere possession of any chemical substance intended for self administration should be at most a misdemeanor.

One of the first acts of a McAfee Administration would be the wholesale decriminalization of marijuana – by changing it from a schedule one drug to either a schedule 4 or 5 drug, something that can be done without congressional consent – along with pardons to any individual serving time for non-violent marijuana possession without any attempt to distribute.

While marijuana would be decriminalized on the federal level, it will be left up to the states to decide whether to completely legalize and/or make the sale of the drug legal.


Tightening borders does nothing to increase national security. Terrorists will enter the country no matter how much we attempt to secure our borders. The key to reducing terrorism is reducing our interference in the affairs of other nations.

Our borders should be opened, and the money now spent on patrolling them should be spent on creating a documentation process and an education system for immigrants.

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