Donald Trump’s impending presidency has caused the Internet Archive — a decades-old nonprofit devoted to digitally preserving the web — to consider storing a copy of its data in Canada for safekeeping.
Internet Archives founder Brewster Kahle said Tuesday that the outcome of the 2016 presidential election has inspired the organization to create a mirror of its myriad websites that’ll be physically located outside the United States.
Without citing the president-elect by name, Mr. Kahle wrote in a blog post that the results of the latest White House race could prove detrimental to maintaining access to a free and unregulated Internet.
“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,” Mr. Kahle wrote.
“For us, it means keeping our cultural materials safe, private and perpetually accessible. It means preparing for a Web that may face greater restrictions,” he added. “It means serving patrons in a world in which government surveillance is not going away; indeed it looks like it will increase.”
Founded in 1996, the San Francisco-based Internet Archives maintains, among other projects, the Wayback Machine — a digital library of the web’s content, past and present, consistently ranked as one of the most visited websites in the world.
The Wayback Machine adds about 300 million pages to its archive each week, Mr. Kahle wrote Tuesday, and has amassed a collection of more than 279 billion pages since launching 20 years ago.
According to Mr. Kahle, creating a copy of the Internet Archives’ 26 petabytes of data for safekeeping in Canada will cost millions of dollars.
“For 20 years through the Wayback Machine, we’ve backed you up. Now we ask for your help in return,” he wrote Tuesday.
Mr. Trump’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday. Prior to being elected president, however, the Republican businessman suggested taking action to prevent Americans from becoming radicalized online by the Islamic State terror group’s social media recruitment efforts.
“We’ve got to maybe do something with the internet. We’re losing a lot of people because of the internet. We have to see Bill Gates and a lot of different people that really understand what’s happening,” Mr. Trump said in December 2015.
“We have to talk to them about, maybe in certain areas, closing that internet up in some ways,” he continued. “Somebody will say, ‘Oh freedom of speech, freedom of speech.’ These are foolish people.”