by Max Sirak
John Perry Barlow (JPB for short) died earlier this month.
And, in honor of his passing, but more in remembrance of his life, I want to dedicate my little sliver of cyberspace, a realm he was passionate about, to highlight three pieces of his writing and thought. First, a political document; second, a code of conduct; and lastly some lyrics.
A Child Of Boundless (Digital) Seas
JPB was a pioneer of an open, free-range internet. He, along with others, founded The Electric Frontier Foundation (EFF) (here), a "nonprofit defending digital privacy, free speech, and innovation" in 1990. He literally wrote the Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace (here) in 1996.
For those who don't want to read it, it is what it says it is. It begins with, "Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of the Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone."
The Declaration goes on to lay out the foundational premise of what the internet should be. A "global social space" independent of past tyrannies and a natural emergence of human creativity to serve as a self-regulating web of communication free from commercial enterprise and regulation.
Idealistic? Sure. Naive? Quite possibly. But don't those two usually walk, arm-in-arm, like sunshine and daydreams?