The internet’s historical archive wants to build a back-up site in Canada to protect itself from Donald Trump
The San Francisco non-profit plans to back up in Canada to keep ‘our cultural materials safe, private and perpetually accessible’
Donald Trump won’t be sworn in as US President until January, but one major internet organisation is already making back-up plans, literally.
The Internet Archive, a San Francisco non-profit that maintains one of the world’s largest library of cached web sites, said on Tuesday that it was planning to create a copy of its archives in Canada, out of the reach of the incoming US government.
“On November 9th in America, we woke up to a new administration promising radical change. It was a firm reminder that institutions like ours, built for the long-term, need to design for change,” Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive wrote in a blog post published on Tuesday.
“For us, it means keeping our cultural materials safe, private and perpetually accessible. It means preparing for a Web that may face greater restrictions.”
You might know the Internet Archive because of the Wayback Machine, or the most common way for people to find old copies of websites dating back as much as 20 years. The organisation also maintains a massive collection of political TV ads and e-books.
Trump’s views on free speech have raised worries among many people, and he has said he’d like to “open up” libel laws so he can punish journalists who write negative things about him.
Presumably, if the Internet Archive had a Canada-based operation, controversial documents would stay online in the event that US censorship laws became more restrictive under Trump. Kahle also points to the possibility that government surveillance may increase under a Trump administration as another reason for the move.
“Throughout history, libraries have fought against terrible violations of privacy—where people have been rounded up simply for what they read.”
Kahle said the plan to build a copy of the internet archive in Canada will cost “millions” and he asked supporters to donate money to help fund the effort.
“We still need to pay for the increasing costs of servers, staff and rent,” Kahle wrote.