Everyone wants to know where John McAfee is. The notorious computer anti-virus pioneer is on the run from police in Belize, where he's wanted for questioning in connection to his neighbor's murder. Now it appears Vice Magazine accidentally revealed his location to the world—and the authorities hunting him. Or did it? Come along for the latest confusing chapter in a very twisted story.
If you haven't been following the tale of John McAfee, the 67-year-old founder of the antivirus company McAfee, Inc., you've missed out on one of the weirder stories of the year. McAfee was living a self-exiled life in Belize keeping a harem of prostitutes and apparently experiment with drug manufacturing. Last month, his neighbor was murdered and police named him a person of interest. McAfee fled, and has since become a traveling media shitshow, keeping the world up to date about his life on the lam on his blog, taunting authorities and blabbing to just about anyone who would listen. Read this New York Times story on McAfee for a good background on the story so far.
But this afternoon, it seemed like his life on the lam had come to a strange end when tits-and-drugs rag Vice accidentally revealed McAfee's location. In a blog post, Vice Editor-In-Chief Rocco Castoro boasted that he was hanging out with John McAfee to make a documentary about him. Accompanying the post was the photo above of Castoro and McAfee, taken by Vice photographer Robert King. It had been taken with an iPhone and hadn't been scrubbed of GPS data, which revealed it was taken just three hours earlier in Guatemala, near the border with Belize. You can see the exact GPS coordinates here.
McAfee's doomed, right? But soon after the screw-up was noticed by Twitter users, McAfee took to his blog and claimed that he in fact had faked the data as a ruse to protect himself and tricked Vice into posting it. In a post he wrote: " I, for my own safety, manipulated the xif data on the image taken from my cellphone, and created a fake emrgency so that the urgency of movement led, as I knew it would, to the hasty posting on their website. " Uh huh.
While McAfee does have a long, colorful history of hoaxes, why would he immediately admit to this trick, if he was actually trying to plant a false flag and mislead authorities? In any event, he had enough time to sit down and write this blog post, so he didn't seem in immediate danger of being caught, or to be too upset with the Vice guys. The journalists are apparently no longer with McAfee, and we'll be waiting for their side of the story.
Update: Well, Vice did fuck up and leak McAfee's coordinates, and this was all just a hasty attempt at covering it up. McAfee admitted in a blog post this morning:
Vice Magazine reporters are indeed with me in Guatemala. Yesterday was chaotic due to the accidental release of my exact co-ordinates by an unseasoned technician at Vice headquarters. We made it to safety in spite of this handicap. I had to cancel numerous interviews with the press yesterday because of this and I apologize to all of those affected.
Never invite Vice to your secret hideout.