There is no question that the battle for the U.S. president’s seat was a rough one in 2016. The election pitted the potential first woman in the presidential office against a businessman with no prior government experience. The outcome has surprised and shocked many, pushing protestors out into the streets. The upcoming Donald Trump administration is promising a “radical” change in Washington, D.C., leaving many U.S. citizens and organizations worried about the future. The Internet Archive seems to be one of them.
In a blog posted on Tuesday by Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle, he announced that the nonprofit organization is setting up a backup in Canada. He added that the “Internet Archive of Canada” will cost “millions,” thus the archive is now asking for tax-free deductible donations to continue providing free and open access to information until the end of time.
Of course, the Canadian backup may have nothing to do with President-elect Trump at all, but Kahle’s blog clearly points to Trump’s election as president, and the “radical” change America will face in the coming months.
“For us, it means keeping our cultural materials safe, private and perpetually accessible,” he writes. “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.”
The question of internet censorship became a hot topic during the presidential race, as Trump wants the United States to continue its role in overseeing the internet’s governing body, the non-profit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), while the Obama administration agreed to let ICANN govern the internet on its own.
In a nutshell, ICANN handles the domain name system responsible for website addresses across the globe. But for the last 18 years, the U.S. government has essentially kept ICANN in check and originally intended to let ICANN govern the internet on its own from the start. That relinquish of control over ICANN finally happened in early October.
But the Trump administration reportedly believes that was a mistake. The president-to-be also has no problems suggesting that the internet needs to be “closed up” to fight radical Islam. Because of this stance, the Internet Archive appears to be getting ready for hard times ahead as the “radical” changes make their way through Washington and the rest of the United States starting January 20.
Until then, web surfers wanting to support the Internet Archive can choose between seven set donation amounts, or provide a custom amount (but make sure it is more than $1). Visitors can donate by using their credit card, PayPal, or Bitcoin. All donations will be poured into not only the backup in Canada, but the overall technology, the Internet Archive staff of 150 individuals, and its projects.
The Internet Archive is a nonprofit organization founded in May 1996 that is based in San Francisco. It uses the term “Wayback Machine” to describe its method of archiving web pages. It preserves 750 million web pages per week and has thus far saved 26 petabytes of data. All of this relies on private data centers owned by the organization that is apparently cheaper to run and maintain than using Amazon’s cloud services.