Co-founding the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), in 1990 alongside Mitch Kapor and John Gilmore, John Perry Barlow was always a staunch supporter of a free and open internet. 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.
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.
"We will miss Barlow and his wisdom for decades to come, and he will always be an integral part of EFF", said a statement by the group's executive director, Cindy Cohn.
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 were not silenced by meddling governments or monopolistic businesses.
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Earlier in his life, Barlow was a lyricist for the Grateful Dead who co-wrote songs such as "Cassidy", "Mexicali Blues", and "Black-Throated Wind". Barlow also worked with Dead keyboardists Brent Mydland and Vince Welnick and others, later writing lyrics for The String Cheese Incident's Michael Kang. He paved the way for digital justice, wrote some cool songs with Bobby and lived one full life filled with as much fun as you can squeeze into 70 years.
Barlow was born in Sublette County, Wyoming, on October 3, 1947.
He later returned to Wyoming, where he ran a cattle ranch for almost two decades and dabbled in Republican politics. The Grateful Dead connection led him to early prominence on the WELL community (short for "Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link"), credited as one of the first online social networks.
His preoccupation with the internet dated from the mid-1980s, when he began using a computer to manage the ranch's finances. His survivors include three daughters, Amelia, Anna and Leah, and a granddaughter. Among the most well-known of his works was the Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, published in 1996. In 2012, he helped found the Freedom Of The Press Foundation for "promoting and funding aggressive, public-interest journalism focused on exposing mismanagement, corruption, and law-breaking in government".