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

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

On February 6, Grateful Dead lyricist (and founding member of the influential digital rights group the Electronic Freedom Foundation) John Perry Barlow passed away peacefully at the age of 70, after several years of serious health issues.

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".

The EFF announced Barlow's death in a blog post late yesterday, announcing that the organisation would, "continue the work to fulfil his dream".

Weir encouraged him to write lyrics, and penned more than 30 songs for the Dead including "Mexicali Blues", "Cassidy", "Throwing Stones", and "Hell In A Bucket".

Barlow wrote extensively on the internet and digital world.

Barlow was born in rural Sublette County, Wyoming, in 1947 and raised near Pinedale, where his parents were ranchers and his father a state senator.

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Later at Fountain Valley School in Colorado he forged a lifelong friendship with Weir, a guitar-toting fellow student who would found the Grateful Dead with Garcia and others in 1965.

Barlow moved to CT to attend Wesleyan University, majored in comparative religion, graduated in 1969, traveled and lived in India before returning to the U.S.in 1970.

The duo partnered with another software entrepreneur, John Gilmore, to create the EFF, which hired lawyers and sought to raise awareness about the importance of protecting civil liberties online. "John had a way of taking life's most hard things and framing them as challenges, therefore adventures".

His preoccupation with the internet dated from the mid-1980s, when he began using a computer to manage the ranch's finances. 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". "You have no sovereignty where we gather", he wrote.

Barlow is survived by daughters Leah, Anna and Amelia Barlow, his first granddaughter, Willah Brave Barlow Dunwoody, and his former wife, Elaine Parker.

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


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