John McAfee Interview
Cybersecurity and anti-virus expert speaks out on his political education, how information is the new world power and why he's being compared to Charlie Sheen.

My first foray into politics has been the education of a lifetime crammed into a seven-month period. I am familiar with businesses, having started seventeen in my life, almost all successful, and one of them now worth more than a billion dollars. The fourth company I founded, McAfee Inc, was sold to Intel for more than $7bn a few years ago. I have started many companies now worth more than $100 million. So I know a little about business.

Corporate competition is fierce, viewed by many as economic warfare where all is fair. But politics... now, this is something unique. The most astonishing thing about politics is that its participants, at least on the campaign trail, seem oblivious to the realities of the modern world.

The influence over government

According to organisation charts, manifold legislations and government enforcement agencies, the US government is an independent entity with its own power. Someone should inform the executives of Google about this, or perhaps Rupert Murdoch, because I can assure you that they would be shocked at such a naive conception.

Dwight Eisenhower warned American citizens at the end of his presidency about the implications of the military-industrial complex and its influence over government. We have now gone well beyond any of the wildest imaginations that could have entered Eisenhower's mind.

The recent mini-war between the FBI and Apple, into which I inserted myself to no small degree, should at least give a clue, to those of you with the right kind of perceptions, where true power lies in this modern world.

Information is the new power

Money used to be the standard commodity of exchange and the source of all power. Anyone who can add two and two can now look at the millions of applications on Google Play, which are absolutely free, in terms of money – many of which cost tens of millions of dollars to develop – and perceive the absolute truth that information is becoming the new commodity of exchange.

These 'free' applications ask for permission to read your emails, your text messages, listen to your phone calls, record video from your phone. Why else would someone spend millions developing an application which they then give away? Kind-hearted, maybe? Get real. What price can you possibly put on this information that these apps are gathering?

Believe me, information is the new power in this world – which brings me back to the political process. The only thing more powerful than information is disinformation. It has won wars, sold newspapers, destroyed careers and frequently entertained us. This is where politics shines.

My first campaign manager, whom I shall not name, contacted me shortly after I joined the Libertarian Party to offer his services. I discovered almost immediately that he was a mole from one of of the other Libertarian Party contenders. I chose to accept him anyway. Why? Because I have spent my entire life in information security – which basically means that there is nothing about anyone that I cannot discover.

It also means that I am well versed in the art of disinformation. So not only did I know every piece of information that was passed between my manager and his handlers, and back, I had the opportunity to pull the strings of my political opponent. Trivial for any human engineer with even moderate hacking skills.

Drug use and why being called crazy doesn't bother me

Recently, I had the opportunity to experience mud slinging from an opponent. On one of my opponent's social media outlets I am being compared with Charlie Sheen in unflattering ways, but comical and entertaining nevertheless.

I admire Charlie Sheen as an actor, and I have no judgement against his reported use of drugs or his proclivity for prostitutes – both qualities of which I am accused of by proponents of my opponent. I am a Libertarian, after all, and Libertarians believe that one should live ones life as they please, providing it harms no one else.

But I would like to add my own perceptions.

It is true that I have taken more drugs in my life than would fill an average living room from floor to ceiling. However, I have taken no drugs at all since I was 38 years old. I am now 70. Admittedly, I drink occasionally, so perhaps I can be faulted for that.

As for a proclivity for prostitutes, it is true that I am married to an ex-prostitute. She was forced into prostitution at the age of 20. She was brutally beaten every day for 10 years. She was isolated from friends and family. She was threatened with death. She was treated as a slave. I rescued her three and a half years ago and married her.

As to Mr Sheen's alleged craziness, I do not know him personally. As for me, I have written more than 100 articles over the past three years for worldwide news outlets, including the International Business Times. If any of those articles sound crazy, then perhaps I am.