John Perry Barlow Passes Away at 70

John Perry Barlow portrait with Declaration text

John Perry Barlow, the longtime Grateful Dead lyricist and internet pioneer who co-founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation, died on Wednesday at the age of 70.

Through the EFF, Barlow championed net neutrality and an open internet, often suing the federal government over its handling of online information and privacy matters.

Barlow described the founding of the EFF after receiving a visit from an Federal Bureau of Investigation agent in April 1990 seeking to find out whether he was a member of "a dread band of info-terrorists".

The cause of death was not immediately known.

John Perry Barlow, an influential internet philosopher and cofounder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, in 2010.

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Barlow had suffered through poor health in the past few years, including a heart attack in 2015, and was unable to attend the Dead's Fare Thee Well concerts that year. Barlow is best known for his writings on the emerging philosophy of the internet during the 90s, particularly 1996's "A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace." The document demanded the government to avoid interfering on the internet.

Barlow was also an avid activist for the Internet freedom.

Outside of his activism, Barlow was good friends with Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir.

"Governments of the Industrial World, you tired giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind".

Barlow was a strong proponent of the digital age and a visionary who saw the tremendous potential of technology on mankind. We will miss Barlow and his wisdom for decades to come, and he will always be an integral part of EFF. The pair were the creative minds behind some of the psychedelic rock group's most well-known songs, including Black Throated Wind, Mexicali Blues and Looks Like Rain. "He always saw the internet as a fundamental place of freedom, where voices long silenced can find an audience and people can connect with others regardless of physical distance", said Cohn. He also co-founded the Freedom of the Press Foundation, working actively to support free speech in the press. The school describes him as a "retired Wyoming cattlerancher" and a father of three daughters-Leah Justine, Anna Winter and Amelia.

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