To avoid Trump interference, Internet Archive plans to backup their data to Canada

internet-archive-squarelogoThe Internet Archive, a nonprofit located right here in the Richmond District, made international news yesterday when it announced its intention to make of copy of its backup data and store it in Canada, fearing potential changes in legislation from the Trump administration that could put their archives at risk.

The Internet Archive (IA), located at the corner of Funston and Clement, and located online at archive.org, backs up and archives the internet. Their Wayback Machine allows visitors to explore more than 279 billion web pages saved over time.

The IA also makes more than 3 million e-books available for free, maintains an archive of open source databases of audio, movies, images, video and software, and more recently, started the Political TV Ad Archive to assist citizens and journalists in the fact-checking of candidates’ claims.

In a blog post yesterday titled “Help Us Keep the Archive Free, Accessible, and Reader Private“, IA founder Brewster Kahle outlined his reasons for wanting to move their backup outside of the United States:

    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. For us, it means keeping our cultural materials safe, private and perpetually accessible. It means preparing for a Web that may face greater restrictions. It means serving patrons in a world in which government surveillance is not going away; indeed it looks like it will increase. Throughout history, libraries have fought against terrible violations of privacy—where people have been rounded up simply for what they read. At the Internet Archive, we are fighting to protect our readers’ privacy in the digital world.
The Internet Archive, located at the corner of Funston and Clement.

The Internet Archive, located at the corner of Funston and Clement.

Kahle’s post never mentions President-Elect Trump by name, but national and international media have seized on the story with headlines like “Trump scares the Internet Archive into moving its backup data to Canada“, “Web archive plans Trump-proof Canada back-up“, and “Internet Archive, Web’s Warehouse, Creating Trump-Era Copy in Canada“.

The backup copy of IA’s archive will be known as The Internet Archive of Canada.

In a tweet yesterday, the IA shared a clip from December 2015 in which Donald Trump says during a campaign rally, “…and maybe in some areas, closing that internet up in some way. Somebody will say “oh freedom of speech, freedom of speech” – these are foolish people”. You can view the clip below:

The IA’s announcement was timed with #GivingTuesday, a global day of charitable giving, in an effort to help the organization raise funds.

“For us, it means keeping our cultural materials safe, private and perpetually accessible,” Kahle wrote. “It means preparing for a Web that may face greater restrictions.”

Sarah B.


  1. Does anyone really believe moving this to Canada will accomplish anything (other than having a geographically different location for the backup)? Guess what? Borders don’t matter with the internet. Any Trump is no more or less a threat than anyone else in that position.

  2. Jeez, I’m only halfway through reading the archived 279 billion web pages. I hope Trump doesn’t throw a wrench in the system and prevent me from reading the rest of them!

  3. Perhaps this blog needs to have alternate servers staged out of the country in case the powers-that-be lower the boom on San Francisco as a sanctuary city next year.

  4. Borders matter insofar as what restrictive laws permit. There are a lot of monied interests trying to influence how even “libraries” are defined, so it; makes complete sense to have backups in countries under different legal jurisdictions.

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