The election of Donald Trump doesn’t just mean major changes for the government, but for organizations operating within the United States as well. In response to the incoming Trump administration, the Internet Archive—a digital library that documents the history of the web—is planning to create a copy of its database in Canada.
The decision to create an Canadian-based backup was announced via blog post on Tuesday by Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle, and was presented as part safety precaution and part reaction to President-elect Trump.
“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,” 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.”
Kahle estimates the project will cost millions of dollars, but may be a necessity to avoid potential challenges in the U.S. for the San Francisco-based project. Legal challenges, government surveillance, and censorship could all present issue for the Internet Archive’s operation.
In the post, which asks for user donations to supplement the expansion of the service into Canada, Kahle compares the Internet Archive to libraries, which he notes are susceptible to fault lines.
“Throughout history, libraries have fought against terrible violations of privacy—where people have been rounded up simply for what they read,” he wrote. “At the Internet Archive, we are fighting to protect our readers’ privacy in the digital world.”
Much of Kahle’s concern stems from the lack of clarity in the Trump administration’s positions toward the issues that could pose a threat to the Internet Archive. Trump has previously expressed his belief of “ closing up ” certain areas of the internet and suggested people who believe freedom of speech is protected on the internet are “ foolish.”
Trump has also taken a stance against net neutrality, supported expansion of government surveillance tools, called for a boycott of Apple when it declined to work with law enforcement to crack its own encryption protocol, and openly wished for the power to hack his opposition.
The proprietors of the Internet Archive have collected more than 15 petabytes of data (about 15 million gigabytes). It’s a fraction of what Facebook has managed to gather, but Internet Archive runs as a non-profit with a staff of just 150. The service is perhaps best known for the Wayback Machine, a running archive of the web that logs more than 300 million web pages each week.