The Internet Archive began moving their data to Canada in November of 2016, following Trump’s successful election.
Concerned about a web that could face greater restrictions, they began moving their material out of the administration’s reach and to the more freedom-loving environment of Canada.
This means investing millions of dollars in backup servers in Canada.
The first of these is scheduled to be online, ready for use in 2020.
“It’s a big project but we take this stuff very seriously,” said Brewster Kahle, the Archive’s founder, and digital librarian. “We’re trying to make sure our collections are safe.”
“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,” the Internet Archive said in a blog post today.
“For us, it means keeping our cultural materials safe, private, and perpetually accessible. It means preparing for a web that may face greater restrictions.”
The Archive has traditionally relied on the support of libraries, universities use individuals around the world to keep its collections growing. Now they are turning to Canadian partners as well who share their values about freedom of information and knowledge in this new Trumpian era.
“I’ve been talking with various organizations up there (Canada) because I don’t want them just being an endpoint,” Kahle said in November 2016 when he announced the project. “Haven’t found one yet but if we can find a good partner organization up there then maybe some company would provide the money or the hardware.”
During Donald Trump’s campaign, he repeatedly referred to weak libel laws and hinted that he would like stricter regulations in place. An open internet — especially one that is backed up for perpetuity like the Internet Archive — could be a prime target of these new laws.
Additionally, the Internet Archive has little oversight on what they have stored. This could mean they would now be liable for content that they were simply backing up, not content they had created.
While these new laws did not come into fruition during Trump’s lame-duck presidency, The impetus of change did push the Internet Archive into a more robust system that is better hardened against future idiocy by our politicians who may wish to remove freedom of speech.
Brewster Kahle, Founder & Digital Librarian at The Internet Archive has been preparing for Trump since November 2016 by investing millions in backup servers located in Canada. -Kahle admits that it’s “a big project” but notes how important it is to prepare themselves ahead of time for anything the administration