The photo in question. (Photo: Vice)
Antivirus software king John McAfee finally admitted this morning that an “unseasoned technician at Vice headquarters” royally screwed him yesterday by accidentally revealing his top secret location to the entire Internet. Whoops!
Mr. McAfee, who’s been on the lam in Central America for weeks, recently escaped Belize with the aid of a body double and a North Korean passport. Yesterday, a photo published to Vice alongside a post entitled “We Are With John McAfee Right Now, Suckers” was not stripped of its EXIF data before publication, making it possible to see the exact geographical location where Mr. McAfee was “hiding.”
Mr. McAfee quickly threw up a blog post claiming that he had manipulated the data to make it appear as if he was in Guatemala; however, photographer Robert King said on his Facebook page that Vice was in on the data manipulation, contradicting Mr. McAfee’s statement. That post has since been deleted from Mr. McAfee’s blog. Mr. King’s Facebook status has also been deleted.
Meanwhile, Vice removed the original photo from the blog post and replaced it with a Photoshopped version void of identifiable geo tags, which seemed like an unnecessary move if they had indeed manipulated the EXIF data.
It seems our suspicions were on point, and the EXIF data for the photo was accurate. On his blog this morning, Mr. McAfee wrote:
I apologize for all of the misdirections over the past few days. It was not easy to exit Belize and required many supporters in many countries. I am in Guatemala and will be meeting with Guatemalan officials this morning. If all goes well I will do a press conference tomorrow.
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.