Published: Sun, February 11, 2018
Culture&Arts | By Darrell Mcdonald

EFF Co-Founder and Internet Activists John Perry Barlow Dies at 70

EFF Co-Founder and Internet Activists John Perry Barlow Dies at 70

Barlow was a pioneer of the online world, who co-founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in 1990, four years after joining the WELL and well ahead of the internet invading almost every home the world.

The EFF, a non-profit digital rights organization, said that Barlow died in his sleep on the morning of February 7.

"It is no exaggeration to say that major parts of the Internet we all know and love today exist and thrive because of Barlow's vision and leadership".

Cohn said the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which champions user privacy, free expression, and innovation, will write more about Barlow's legacy in coming days and weeks. Barlow knew that new technology could create and empower evil as much as it could create and empower good. With keyboardist Brent Mydland, Barlow wrote "Blow Away" and "We Can Run". A longtime friend of the Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir, Barlow co-authored a number of songs for the band throughout the 70s.

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Barlow is also credited with coining the term "cyberspace".

In his work as a digital activist, Barlow was influenced by the "tapers welcome" philosophy of the Grateful Dead, which famously invited fans to make their own recordings of concerts. He wrote essays about the impact of the internet for multiple publications including Wired and the New York Times, and his 1996 essay "A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace" has been long circulated across the web.

It is with some sadness that we must report the passing of John Perry Barlow.

More than a defender of the internet, Barlow had many guises in an uneven evolution from an only child whose nearest neighbour lived four miles away to a corporate consultant and citizen of the world. The world and the internet was certainly a better place for him. Barlow graduated from Wesleyan University in 1969. For tech sites such as ours, however, he'll be forever remembered as the co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation - arguably the most influential organization for internet civil liberties. Survivors include three daughters and a granddaughter. The Weir/Barlow partnership immediately yielded impressive results with the pair's "Black-Throated Wind", "Walk In The Sunshine", "Looks Like Rain", "Mexicali Blues" and "Cassidy" each making the cut for the 1972 LP.

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