David’s Take: RIP Barlow
John Perry Barlow died in his sleep earlier this week. He was one of the founding fathers of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and a member of the Grateful Dead. He played a large role in championing electronic freedoms and was an important early voice as the Internet became more popular. He was a prolific writer and most known for his "A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace", which was written in response to the enactment of the Communications Decency Act in 1996. On an EFF tribute page, he is quoted as saying "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.'” Vint Cerf, who knew him well, noted how his “unmatched lyrical power of speech drew us all to visionary heights,” about the Internet, “in which he played such a colorful and forceful role.”
Here is Barlow in a conversation with Edward Snowden back in 2014 talking about the need for online privacy and solid encryption to engender trust. And in his TED talk in 2011, he speaks about the rights of individual expression online. “I am from Wyoming, and have never been very comfortable when I see well-armed men wandering around places that they don’t understand,” talking about when he was visited by FBI agents. He was in poor health for the past several years, and he will be missed.
– David Strom, editor of Inside Security