John McAfee speaks at hacker conference, unveils complaint website

LAS VEGAS Fri Aug 8, 2014 9:54pm EDT

Computer software pioneer John McAfee speaks with reporters outside his hotel in Miami Beach, Florida December 13, 2012. REUTERS/Joe Skipper

Computer software pioneer John McAfee speaks with reporters outside his hotel in Miami Beach, Florida December 13, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Joe Skipper

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LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - John McAfee, the flamboyant anti-virus software industry pioneer, made a surprise appearance at a computer hackers' conference on Friday evening, where he unveiled a new website to give people a place online to vent their anger.

The one-time millionaire who fled the Central American nation of Belize in 2012 after police sought to question him about the murder of a neighbor said he set up the site for ordinary people to lodge complaints on anything from government corruption to bad consumer products.

The site, called BrownList (www.brownlist.com/), carries the motto "It's payback time."

"This taps into anger in a positive way," he said in a brief interview before taking the stage at Def Con, the world's largest conference of computer hackers. "Instead of getting angry and shooting at somebody on the highway, or yelling at your wife, you can log onto the site."

BrownList offers a forum for people to file specific complaints and for users to propose solutions to problems. Suggestions are voted on by site members who decide what sorts of response might be best.

"Instead of just lashing out, give us your positive solutions," he told an audience of hundreds of hackers taking part in a three-day conference.

McAfee told Reuters that he plans to make money by offering subscription services to businesses, but he did not elaborate.

He said he is looking for more investors in the site, which he has started up with $450,000 from a private investor who he declined to name.

The British-American entrepreneur was the founder in 1987 of McAfee, a pioneer of computer anti-virus software, which was subsequently sold to Intel Corp in 2010.

(Reporting by Jim Finkle and Eric Auchard)

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