The internet is moving to Canada — well, a backup of its history is, anyway. The San Francisco-based Internet Archive announced yesterday in a blog post that following the election of Donald Trump, the nonprofit has decided to create a Canadian backup of its digital archive of the internet, just to be safe.
"On November 9th in America, we woke up to a new administration promising radical change," wrote Brewster Kahle, Internet Archive Founder & Digital Librarian. "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."
With possibly computer-illiterate, history-rewriting Trump poised to take office this January, Kahle writes that now more than ever the integrity of services like The Wayback Machine must be beyond reproach. He apparently thinks this may not be possible in Trump's America — "a world in which government surveillance is not going away; indeed it looks like it will increase."
In asking for donations to support the proposed-Canadian backup, which he says will likely cost millions of dollars, Kahle notes the role The Internet Archive has played and will play going forward. "Your support has fueled the work of journalists who used our Political TV Ad Archive in their fact-checking of candidates’ claims," he explains. "It keeps the Wayback Machine going, saving 300 million Web pages each week, so no one will ever be able to change the past just because there is no digital record of it. The Web needs a memory, the ability to look back."
And while an ability to "look back" accurately on the words and actions of those in power is vital to a functioning democracy, we have a feeling that many may end up wanting to forget the next four years.