In brief

  • John McAfee argues that the coronavirus is being used to sneak mass surveillance in.
  • Elon Musk agrees that democracy is being hacked.
  • We speak to McAfee to find out his thoughts on the subject.

Cybersecurity pioneer John McAfee tweeted an ominous message about the state of politics on April 25. Today, Tesla CEO Elon Musk weighed in, approving of the message.

McAfee’s tweet read, “our democracy has been hacked.” Musk simply replied, “True.”

(Image in tweet via @TheMcVader on Instagram.)

Both individuals have been skeptical of the global pandemic, to say the least. Musk called the panic "dumb," in early March when just 3,500 people had died. Since then, the global death toll has broken 200,000. At the same time, McAfee has repetitively questioned the validity of official statistics. 

Speaking to Decrypt, McAfee elaborated on the tweet, saying the coronavirus is being exploited to establish draconian laws.

"The virtual Martial law enacted to force people into their homes in many democratized countries has been used to enact laws giving extraordinary powers to governments that would be inconceivable when these democracies were originally created," McAfee said, adding, "Fear is the tool used for the ‘hacking’." 

 

McAfee's concerns resonate with recent events. In an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus, global governments have implemented or started work on surveillance systems that, for many, obtrude on privacy.

Concerns remain that these privacy imposing systems will linger after the virus has settled—leaving the world in an Orwellian state of surveillance

McAfee, who has often spoken about protest—and even run for President just to take a stand—said those concerns should speak up.

"Those who see this threat to our democracies must speak out - loudly," McAfee said. "Use your voice, use your social media, swamp your representatives with messages of your displeasure,” McAfee said. "Remember people: Silence is consent."

Since his initial comments, Musk has tried to help with coronavirus relief efforts. He has donated thousands of ventilators and masks to hospitals in the US. And his tweets on the subject have become more muted.

"He, under pressure, has backed off a bit. As for myself ... I have not backed off an inch," McAfee told Decrypt

But then he never does.