In 1990, John Perry Barlow co-founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a nonprofit based in the U.S. that provides legal aid to defend individuals and new technologies from what it considers to be misdirected legal threats. His writing about the impact of the Internet has influenced people’s thinking since the network’s earliest days. His essays for Wired, The New York Times, Communications of the ACM and other publications have been vital to the public discourse.
He is probably best-known as a lyricist, essayist and cyberlibertarian, but he is also a Fellow at Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society. From 1971 until 1995, he wrote the lyrics for some of the most iconic Grateful Dead songs, including “Mexicali Blues” and “I Need a Miracle.” Barlow currently serves as vice-chairman of the EFF’s board of directors. In 2012, Barlow was one of the founders of the EFF-related organization the Freedom of the Press Foundation. His “A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace” argued that the cyberspace legal order should reflect the ethical deliberations of the community.
He spends much of his time on the road, lecturing and consulting about civil rights, freedom of speech, the Internet and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.