Question of the Week (Class 7) & Class 7 Poll: John Perry Barlow and “to regulate or not to regulate” social media?

Let me start this in a perhaps unusual place. John Perry Barlow passed away on February 7 2017 at the age of 70. He was many things and could easily be nominated for any list of the most interesting, charismatic, and thoughtful people in recent memory. He possessed instant street cred for having been a lyricist for the Grateful Dead, but there was much more. He was a visionary, spokesman, and poet for the early internet. Most of all he was a protector of of the web’s potential. He was a founder of the Electronic Frontier  Foundation, and famously the author of “A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace”…

This week’s Question of The Week comes directly from Charlotte’s presentation last week, but Barlow’s life-work provides an interesting backdrop to answering it in the context of interests worth protecting. Perhaps this excerpt from Cindy Cohn’s announcement on the EFF’s website of Barlow’s passing captures it best:

“Barlow was sometimes held up as a straw man for a kind of naive techno-utopianism that believed that the Internet could solve all of humanity’s problems without causing any more. As someone who spent the past 27 years working with him at EFF, I can say that nothing could be further from the truth. Barlow knew that new technology could create and empower evil as much as it could create and empower good. He made a conscious decision to focus on the latter: “I knew it’s also true that a good way to invent the future is to predict it. So I predicted Utopia, hoping to give Liberty a running start before the laws of Moore and Metcalfe delivered up what Ed Snowden now correctly calls ‘turn-key totalitarianism.’”

So without further ado, here is the Question of the Week…

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

If you need to remind yourself of the various possibilities and their contexts, scroll down to the Week 6 slides and take a bit of time to reacquaint yourself with Charlotte’s


P.S. If you are interested in more on Barlow an excellent Obituary from The Guardian and Cindy Cohn’s announcement can both be found below…

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