Need to vent? Try John McAfee’s BrownList

Flamboyant security pioneer/political refugee John McAfee is launching a new site where people can blast companies, governments or pretty much anything.

John McAfee showed up at the Def Con conference on Friday and announced a new croudfunded website called The site is basically a place where people can complain, rant and basically vent their frustrations about pretty much any- and everything that ticks them off. From parking tickets to the NSA just about anything is fair game on the site. The one catch is users can’t just rant then run away – they have to at least try to offer a solution (even if it is only something like ‘they should apologize.’) Other users can also post solutions to problems and everything will be sent to the offending company or government organization.

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

"[The website] taps into anger in a positive way," McAfee said in a brief interview with Reuters before taking the stage. "Instead of getting angry and shooting at somebody on the highway, or yelling at your wife, you can log onto the site."

Theoretically the site will make money by offering corporations a subscription service where they can respond to criticisms and issues that the users post. McAfee said that he has already raised $450,000 in seed money and is looking for other investors.

It’s an interesting concept if it can get beyond the usual sniping, grumbling and general flame trolls.

One of the other interesting bits is that it looks like McAfee wants to make it very clear right from the beginning that BrownList will not be honoring any ‘right to be forgotten’ or take down requests and it implies that they will be fighting any subpoenas, warrants or restraining orders.

In their FAQ they state that subscribers (and users) do not have the ability to block or delete any complaints against them (or remove any complaints they may have made against someone else) and explains, “BrownList’s goal is to help all organizations and people worldwide become more proactive, transparent, and solution-oriented. To this end, it is important that the integrity of the platform not be compromised in any way. It must not be possible for information on the site to be altered for any purpose. This prevents coercion of any kind.”

Users can post anonymously or use their real names and there is no way for a company or another user to learn a person’s true identity unless the user agrees to share that information.

There are sure to be legal complaints and legal take down requests and BrownList is sure to come under fire – but it might just work.

You can visit the BrownList site here.

Guy Wright

Guy Wright has been covering the technology space since the days when computers had cranks and networks were steam powered. He has been a writer and editor for more years then he cares to admit.


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