Ars Technica reports
that John Perry Barlow, who co-founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation
, died Jan. 7 at age 70. Barlow was also a rancher, and wrote some lyrics for the Grateful Dead, but is best known for his early visionary views about the internet. "He’s the one that came up with the metaphor of the electronic frontier," said Mitch Kapor, who created Lotus 1-2-3, an early spreadsheet application, and co-founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation, in 1990, with Barlow and John Gilmore. The Electronic Frontier Foundation is an international non-profit digital rights group based in San Francisco, California to promote Internet civil liberties. The group, "provides funds for legal defense in court, presents amicus curiae briefs, defends individuals and new technologies from what it considers abusive legal threats, works to expose government malfeasance, provides guidance to the government and courts, organizes political action and mass mailings, supports some new technologies which it believes preserve personal freedoms and online civil liberties, maintains a database and web sites of related news and information, monitors and challenges potential legislation that it believes would infringe on personal liberties and fair use, and solicits a list of what it considers abusive patents with intentions to defeat those that it considers without merit," according to Wikipedia
. "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," Cindy Cohn, the group’s executive director, wrote in a blog post after his death. "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.... What he saw in the early Internet was the idea that we could transcend our bodies, regardless of who we were or where we were," she told Ars Technica.