John Perry Barlow, "visionary" internet pioneer, press freedom advocate and Grateful Dead lyricist, has died aged 70. The cause of death is not yet known. The obit from Electronic Frontier Foundation reads, "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".
Barlow co-wrote several songs for the Grateful Dead with Weir, including "Mexicali Blues", "Black Throated Wind", "Bombs Away", "Heaven Help the Fool", "Cassidy", "I Need a Miracle", "Lazy Lightnin'", "Looks Like Rain", "Lost Sailor", "Money Money", "My Brother Esau", "Feel Like a Stranger", "Saint of Circumstance", "Supplication" and "This Time Forever".
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The staunchly libertarian document demanded governments to avoid interfering in the internet, which he referred to as "the new home of the mind". You are not welcome among us. 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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He said he grew up as a devout Mormon before leaping into the counterculture of the 1960s, befriending Bob Weir - a guitarist and founding member of the Grateful Dead - when they were classmates at the Fountain Valley School in Colorado. He graduated from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, with a degree in comparative religion.
Cohn also defended Barlow from critics who claimed that he was kind of naïve for believing that the internet could save humanity's problems. It was as a rancher in the 1980s that he first began exploring the web's early social networks. "So I predicted Utopia, hoping to give Liberty a running start before the laws of [Intel co-founder Gordon] Moore and [Ethernet co-inventor Robert] Metcalfe delivered up what Ed Snowden now correctly calls 'turn-key totalitarianism'"'.
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Barlow is survived by his three daughters, namely Leah Justine, Anna Winter, and Amelia Rose Barlow. His memoir, "Mother American Night: My Life in Crazy Times", is due to be published later this year.