The 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.
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:
— PoliticalTVAdArchive (@PolitAdArchive) November 30, 2016
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.”
— R Macdonald (@r_macdonald) November 30, 2016