Outspoken cybersecurity entrepreneur John McAfee, the founder of the anti-virus software that still bears his surname, believes that multinational technology giant Google has become "so large and so powerful" that its alleged greed now "threatens to destroy us all".
On 14 July, in a tough-talking interview with Russia's primary state media outlet RT, McAfee took the search engine goliath to task, saying: "If you believe that Google is not harmful then you must believe that the total loss of our privacy and human dignity is not harmful."
McAfee, who now heads up a cybersecurity and cryptocurrency venture called MGT Capital Investments, slammed Google's data collection and web-crawling capabilities, claiming it reduces individuals to statistics without considering their human emotions.
"I love Google from one standpoint," he said. "It has opened up the world to information beyond comprehension and has enriched our lives – but Google has taken the mantle of corporate conscience and sacrificed it on the altar of Mammon for money.
"We are not numbers, I am not a statistic, I am not a collection of attitudes and desires. I am a human being with my own dreams and hopes and problems. By making me a number you have removed my human dignity. You need to stop doing that."
A Google spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In past years, Google has been criticised for scanning the personal emails of Gmail users, an allegedly close relationship with the US government and numerous complaints of suspected data collection overreach. Yet it remains one of the biggest technology firms in the world.
"I am seriously ticked off about Google's lack of conscience," McAfee continued.
"I may be an old man and you may think that I have lost my energy and my strength and my teeth but I promise you, if things don't change I will do everything within my power to make sure that the objections of the world are laid squarely on the doorsteps of Google."
It appears McAfee was determined to start a war-of-words. In a YouTube description of his RT interview, he wrote: "When success gives way to pure, venal greed we all suffer. Google has become so large, and so powerful, that their greed now threatens to destroy us all."
On Twitter, where the web pioneer boasts a following of more than 63,000 people, he later claimed his "Google challenge" was mysteriously deleted from his social media profiles. The same day, alongside a selfie of him wearing a skull mask, he added: "I'm ready. Are you Google?"
MGT Capital Investments is currently bulking up its bitcoin mining capabilities, alongside a product dubbed "Sentinel" which aims to protect businesses from criminal hackers. Most recently, a court ruled that McAfee settled a legal dispute with tech firm Intel over use of his name.