John McAfee: VICE Gives Away the Fugitive's Location With Cellphone Metadata

VICE, which has been “embedded” with semi-fugitive John McAfee over the past few days while he evades authorities, accidentally gave away his exact location.

This story has been spiraling out of control. McAfee is the millionaire software mogul famous for products like McAfee anti-virus. He is wanted for questioning in Belize, in connection with the murder of his neighbor. The tycoon has been on the run with journalists from VICE that are documenting his journey in an effort to “set the record straight,” about the murder and a rumored passion for "bath salts." What they did instead was give the world his GPS coordinates.

After the group left Belize, VICE published a story titled, “We Are With John McAfee Right Now, Suckers,” and published a photo that was apparently uploaded with an iPhone. As many know, those photos contain meta-data. It pinpointed their exact location: Guatemala, along the Rio Dulce in Parque Nacional Rio Dulce, standing next to a swimming pool.


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McAfee tried to quickly backtrack by uploading a post to his blog, since removed, that claimed he “manipulated the xif data on the image…and created a fake emergency so that the urgency of the movement led, as I know it would, to the hasty posting on their website.” At about the same time, Wired reports, “Vice posted a new version of the photo with the GPS coordinates removed.” Seems the fake emergency was a real one and the emergency was their own.

Belize officials seem to be taking it in stride. 

"I am wondering... All of these allegations he's making, they make you wonder if [McAfee's] state of mind is okay," says Raphael Martinez, the spokesperson for Belize's National Security Ministry. 

Today, McAfee posted on his blog, “Guatemala.” It reads, “I apologize for all the misdirection…. I am in Guatemala…. Yesterday was chaotic due to the accidental release of my exact co-ordinates by an unseasoned technician at Vice headquarters.” He goes on to say that he is meeting with Guatemalan officials, presumably about some sort of asylum.

He is still wanted in Belize for questioning about that murder charge.

What a trip.

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Michael McCutcheon

Michael was formerly special projects editor at Mic. Prior to that, he worked at the Open Society Foundations on electoral reform. A native Seattleite, he's still mad about the SuperSonics.

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