John McAfee claimed that he’s left Belize for another country in the company of two Vice journalists and his longtime female companion, Sam. He also noted that Vice would be publishing a story today that would end all the speculation as to whether or not he is a “drug-crazed madman.”
In fact, Vice did publish a story, titled “We Are With John McAfee Right Now, Suckers,” complete with a photo of McAfee and Vice editor-in-chief Rocco Castoro taken with an iPhone 4S.
Washington Post’s Craig Timberg explains that a Twitter user who goes by the name “Simple Nomad” was among the first to call attention to the fact that a photo posted by the Vice team included details of their location. “Check the metadata in the photo,” he tweeted, linking to a post on Vice’s website. The photo shows a smiling McAfee standing next to another man.
Many smartphones, the iPhone 4S included, automatically embed location data in photographs if that setting is turned on. Commonly, this information is either removed prior to publishing location sensitive stories, or turned off in the phone before pictures are taken.
And location information embedded in the photo indicates the foursome is in Guatemala, specifically along the Rio Dulce in the Parque Nacional Rio Dulce. Near the Ranchon Mary restaurant. By a swimming pool.
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.
McAfee is wanted for questioning in Belize in a case related to the murder of his neighbor, Gregory Faull. McAfee has proclaimed his innocence.
“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.”