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John Perry Barlow, Internet Pioneer, 1947-2018

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Feb 7, 2018, 9:26:02 PM2/7/18

John Perry Barlow, Internet Pioneer, 1947-2018

With a broken heart I have to announce that EFF's founder, visionary,
and our ongoing inspiration, John Perry Barlow, passed away quietly in
his sleep this morning. We will miss Barlow and his wisdom for decades
to come, and he will always be an integral part of EFF.

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. 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.

Barlow was sometimes held up as a straw man for a kind of naive
techno-utopianism that believed that the Internet could solve all of
humanity's problems without causing any more. As someone who spent the
past 27 years working with him at EFF, I can say that nothing could be
further from the truth. Barlow knew that new technology could create
and empower evil as much as it could create and empower good. He made
a conscious decision to focus on the latter: "I knew it’s also true
that a good way to invent the future is to predict it. So I predicted
Utopia, hoping to give Liberty a running start before the laws of
Moore and Metcalfe delivered up what Ed Snowden now correctly calls
'turn-key totalitarianism.'”

Barlow’s lasting legacy is that he devoted his life to making the
Internet into “a world that all may enter without privilege or
prejudice accorded by race, economic power, military force, or station
of birth . . . a world where anyone, anywhere may express his or her
beliefs, no matter how singular, without fear of being coerced into
silence or conformity.”

In the days and weeks to come, we will be talking and writing more
about what an extraordinary role Barlow played for the Internet and
the world. And as always, we will continue the work to fulfill his
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