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John McAfee: FBI’s Order to Apple is “Misuse” of Law

John-and-Janice-McAfee[1]Cybersecurity guru and Libertarian party presidential candidate, John McAfee, spoke with Black Enterprise about his view on the FBI’s demand that Apple crack open the iPhones belonging to the deceased terrorists responsible for the December 2015 shooting in San Bernardino, California.

“The FBI is using an antiquated law in order to force Apple to put a backdoor in its software. This, I believe, is a misuse of the law—it was created in 1789, 200 years before the digital world even existed. I think the FBI really wants to get access to everyone’s phone. They can do that by having Apple write this software,” says McAfee.

The law to which McAfee refers, is the All Writs Act, a blanket provision allowing court orders to enforce judicial actions.

McAfee says this issue is more about the FBI not having internal talent capable of hacking the phone.

“A good hacker can decrypt that iPhone. I could do it. I don’t know why the FBI can’t unless the government doesn’t have the talent. The best hackers in the world have […] purple Mohawks and want to smoke weed while they are working. [That’s] not fine for the FBI. The bureaucracy has lost out on the finest cybersecurity talent,” he says.

The FBI and other law enforcement agencies and personnel make the argument that it is important to know what other data may reside on those phones in the interest of keeping the nation safe from terrorism.

“It’s important to recognize that the government is not asking Apple to redesign its product or ‘create a new backdoor to its products,’” said Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary at a recent briefing.

Earnest said the case was instead about federal investigators learning “as much as they can about this one case.”

McAfee isn’t buying any of that. “If they [the FBI] can’t decrypt it, they can go to a private security company.” He says the consequences for Apple complying with the government agency’s demand could be dire.

“The problem with putting in a backdoor into the software…the Chinese can find it, the Russians can see it…it makes us totally defenseless,” McAfee says.

Other tech companies have sided with Apple on the issue including Facebook, Google, and Twitter.

“Tim Cook, he deserves all the praise in the world for doing this…we should all stand behind him,” says McAfee.

As mentioned, McAfee is also running for president under the Libertarian Party. His wife, Janice McAfee, explains, “[John] is now running as a Libertarian. It’s going to cost $ 70 million to get on the ballot, even Ross Perot could not get on all 50 states [as a billionaire] for the ballot. Smart for him to move to the Libertarian Party—it was a much easier way for him to get out his message.”

In addition to assisting with her husband’s presidential aspirations, she has proven to be a vital part of McAfee’s business ventures. Their company recently released a new product, Everykey, which John calls “a f***ing game changer” for security. With it, “[you] can lock down your phone, the house, all of your electronics with this little USB that you can wear on your wrist or on your key chain…if you lost your phone, you can remotely lock it,” says Janice.

Janice is also as adamant about the FBI/Apple issue, “I think it’s insane that they would even try to demand it. We have this encryption so that we can all stay safe. Just because we need to get into this one phone….so that every iPhone all over the planet is vulnerable? ” she says.

Black Enterprise

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Black Enterprise Tech Entrepreneur of the Year to Appear on ‘Shark Tank’

Nexercise-Founders[1]Benjamin Young, who was named Black Enterprise’s “Techpreneur” of the year in 2015, will appear on tonight’s episode of Shark Tank, along with his business partner Gregory Coleman.

The pair is pitching their company, Nexercise, and their latest product Sworkit. It’s a free fitness app that offers custom workout routines.

The big differentiating factor between Sworkit and other fitness apps is “it’s highly customizable,” says Nexercise co-founder Coleman. “Not a lot has changed [with fitness] in the last 30 years. There’s lots of good content, but everything is static. I can’t do P9ox every day because I don’t do the same things every day. With Sworkit, I can get a great workout anytime, anywhere.”

The app will tailor workouts based on what you are currently doing, for example, if you are traveling, in a hotel, in the office…etc. Workouts are customized based on the user’s likes.

Sworkit is being well-received. A recent University of Florida fitness research study recently scored Sworkit its highest score when compared to other fitness apps on the market.

The co-founders have combined experiences in software development and military training. Young spent years as a software developer; while Coleman’s background is in the military as an Air Force pilot. The two met while attending Wharton business school, pursuing their MBAs.

In an interview with Black Enterprise, Coleman explained the motivation for appearing on Shark Tank.

“[We’re not] in Silicon Valley, we are D.C.-based,” he said. “We look like a Silicon Valley company. Over the years, we always looked for other ways to kind of go out and figure out a unique path to success. We don’t necessarily fit the patterns. We are a little older—both in our early 40s; two African American guys, and we are on the East Coast. We have kind of an outsider sort of angle.”

Nexercise was the first black-founded company to go through the Techstars’ accelerator program. Winning on Shark Tank would allow the company to “grow faster,” says Coleman. “[With] consumer-facing digital properties, speed is one of your most important things.” A win would also mean more capital to spend on marketing, according to Coleman.

About the experience of appearing on Shark Tank, Coleman said, “It was awesome. When you first get into the process you don’t get your hopes up high. Then we made it to the next round.” He said the experience was also “surreal” since both he and Young have been fans of the show since it first aired.

The Shark Tank episode featuring Sworkit will appear Friday, Feb. 19 at 9 PM ET, on ABC.

Black Enterprise