Internet activist and founder of EFF John Barlow has passed away

Posted February 10, 2018

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.

In the wake of a particularly troubling year for online media, it's easy to see how some might have mistaken that hopefulness for naiveté, but Cohn, who worked alongside the internet pioneer, notes in her piece, Barlow, "knew that new technology could create and empower evil as much as it could create and empower good".

String Cheese Incident (SCI) songwriter John Perry Barlow (R) speaks during a news conference which addressed the Colorado band's lawsuit recently filed against Ticketmaster August 11, 2003 in New York City.

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Some of his policy views evolved over time, but he remained optimistic about the power of the internet to strengthen human connections as long as people weren't silenced by meddling governments or monopolistic businesses. With keyboardist Brent Mydland, Barlow wrote "Blow Away" and "We Can Run".

Barlow wrote many essays.

He was born on October 3, 1947, in northwestern Wyoming, on a ranch a great-uncle had started in 1907.

Still, Barlow became heavily involved on Weir's first solo album, 1972's "Ace", which contained many of their best collaborations, like "Cassidy", "Looks Like Rain" and others that went on to become Grateful Dead concert classics.

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He graduated in 1969 at Wesleyan University in CT with a degree in comparative religion. Sought out by FBI agents investigating computer crimes, he realized government agencies did not understand what was going on in these communities and "were vastly overreacting", Cohn said.

In addition to his cyber activism, Barlow was a poet, essayist and an early lyricist for the Grateful Dead. "John had a way of taking life's most hard things and framing them as challenges, therefore adventures. He'll live on in the songs we wrote". The school describes him as a "retired Wyoming cattlerancher" and a father of three daughters-Leah Justine, Anna Winter and Amelia. In 1990, he cofounded the Electronic Frontier Foundation with John Gilmore and Mitch Kapor.

She said that his memoir, Mother American Night, was recently completed, and is due out in June 2018.

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