Video: John Perry Barlow on the potential of the internet
An internet visionary vindicated.
We said goodbye in 2018 to internet pioneer John Perry Barlow. The internet pioneer, advocate for press freedom and Grateful Dead lyricist, died aged 70.
Barlow was an advocate of the open web and libertarian. He founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in 1990, a non-profit group that defends civil liberties on the internet.
His most influential work remains the Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, published in 1996, in which he called on governments to cease seeking to control the internet.
It turns out that it’s not just governments that have sought to control the internet, but also corporate organisations such as Facebook and Google.
Barlow teaches us that control of the internet is futile. It’s a network where creators, thinkers and doers, can create content with anyone in the world, and share content openly, anywhere in the world, at no cost.
Like the authors of the Cluetrain Manifesto published in 1999, he foresaw the potential of the internet for good and bad.
Barlow’s work is as relevant today as it has been over the past two decades as we continue to figure out the potential of the internet, and the role of citizens versus media, organisations and governments.
“We will create a civilisation of the mind in cyberspace, may it be more be humane and fair than the world your governments have made before,” said Barlow.