Who is John Perry Barlow?
The freedom that we are currently enjoying as we use the internet in almost all aspect of our lives can be attributed to John Perry Barlow’s vision of what the Internet should be and could be.
Decades ago, most people saw the internet as only a medium or a tool to get something done, like what a hammer is to a carpenter. However, John Perry Barlow, along with a few visionaries, saw the internet in a totally different light. He viewed the internet as a place, a home where people can get comfortable and have utmost freedom.
With this vision in mind, John Perry Barlow founded Electronic Frontier Foundation in the year 1990, together with Mitch Kapor and John Gilmore.
What EFF Is and What It Has Done
EFF or Electronic Frontier Foundation is a non-profit organization that aims to defend the freedom of the people in the world of internet. According to the EFF website, “We work to ensure that rights and freedoms are enhanced and protected as our use of technology grows.” And true enough, the organization and its members have been fighting for liberty and freedom in the digital realm ever since it was founded in the year 1990.
EFF relies on the funding of donors who have the same advocacy as the organization, and on the support of its various members whose occupation range from lawyers, entrepreneurs, professors, writers, and technologists.
The EFF has helped individuals, organizations, and even large corporations in fighting for freedom in the internet and technology world. Here are three of the most notable cases that the EFF has helped win:
1. LEGAL CASE US V. ELCOMSOFT SKLYAROV
Dmitry Sklyarov, a Russian programmer, was the very first person to be criminally charged under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act or the DMCA (an act that the EFF has viewed to infringe the liberty of the people using and developing the internet technology). Sklyarov was sued by Adobe because of an advanced program that decrypts Adobe eBook documents. After discussions with EFF, however, Adobe dropped the charges against the programmer.
2. LEGAL CASE LEXMARK V. STATIC CONTROL CASE ARCHIVE
The EFF extended help to Lexmark, a large printer corporation when the company was sued by one of its competitors for copyright infringement under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
3. LEGAL CASE ALA V. FCC
It has been a long-standing argument of EFF that viewers and consumers should have the sole control over what they access and what they watch on their devices. Thus, it was no wonder when EFF fought against the US FCC and Hollywood when these two started controlling people’s TiVo.
More About John Perry Barlow
John Perry Barlow was born on October 3, 1947, in Wyoming. He was an only child of Norman Walker Barlow and Miriam Adeline Barlow Bailey. His father was a Republican legislator. John Perry Barlow’s ancestors were among the first people who became Mormons, and Barlow was also raised in the same religion. He was taught to be a devout Mormon, and as a matter of fact, he was not allowed to watch anything on the television until he reached sixth grade.
Barlow was a bright student – graduated with honours from Wesleyan University, and was even accepted to Harvard Law School.
Barlow was a writer at heart. He wrote lyrics of songs; he also wrote a novel which remains unpublished. He even wrote for publications such as Wired magazine, The New York Times, and Communications of the ACM. The main topic of his articles was the internet.
Perhaps Barlow’s greatest work is the “A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace,” which was actually a response to the Communications Decency Act enacted in 1996. Barlow and the EFF viewed this particular Act as a threat to the independence of cyberspace. A lot of his writings are focused on keeping the liberty that we have in the digital world.
Some of his notable quotes that really say about his advocacy are:
“Relying on the government to protect your privacy is like asking a peeping tom to install your window blinds.”
“The Internet treats censorship as a malfunction and routes around it.”
“We will create a civilization of the Mind in Cyberspace. May it be more humane and fair than the world your governments have made before.”
Barlow died quietly in his sleep on February 7, 2018, at the age of 70, after suffering from several health issues. However, his legacy to the internet world remains.
The Internet as a Place of Freedom
Barlow’s vision of the internet as a place where people get to enjoy freedom has become true presently as more and more people treat the internet as their home. Thus, the death of John Perry Barlow is a loss to the world – both the physical and the digital world.
However, his death will not stop his legacy from spreading. LimeVPN is one with the world in our advocacy to keep the freedom that Barlow had fought for.
Like Barlow, we want the internet to be a place where anyone regardless of gender, race, economic status, or station of birth can enter and be comfortable. In the Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace that Barlow had cleverly drafted, he professed the following:
“We are creating a world that all may enter without privilege or prejudice accorded by race, economic power, military force, or station of birth.”
“We are creating a world where anyone, anywhere may express his or her beliefs, no matter how singular, without fear of being coerced into silence or conformity.”
The excerpt above is also LimeVPN’s cry and advocacy. We aim to keep anyone from limiting your internet usage and thereby limiting your freedom.
John Perry Barlow was also aware that the internet can be used for evil and unethical practices, and we at LimeVPN agree with him as we value your online privacy.
The memory of John Perry Barlow and his legacy live on as people continue to use the internet freely and comfortably.