In response to the threat of “legal regimes” and “institutional failure” following Donald Trump’s election, the nonprofit organization The Internet Archive announced it was backing up its databases in Canada.
The backup project would cost millions of dollars, a statement the organization released said, and will need to be funded through user donations.
“The history of libraries is one of loss. The Library of Alexandria is best known for its disappearance,” the organization said. “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.”
The Internet Archive alluded to Trump’s previous claims that he would “close up” parts of the internet in an effort to curb terrorist organizational activity, dismissing those concerned about free speech violations as “foolish people.”
“We have to talk to them about, maybe in certain areas, closing that Internet up in some way,” Trump said in December according to CNN. “Somebody will say, ‘Oh freedom of speech, freedom of speech.’ These are foolish people. We have a lot of foolish people.”
In their statement, The Internet Archive said “For us, (designing for change) 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.”
Multiple experts on internet networks, including world wide web creator Sir Tim Berners-Lee and MIT Professor Weitzner criticized some of Trump’s proposed policies as “misguided.”
“Trump’s actions are making everyone in the tech industry, especially internet companies, nervous about the future,” said Mike Smith of Jameson Smith.
Trump opposed a plan that would cede US control of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, citing a decrease in control of the internet.
However, Berners-Lee and Weitzner released an editorial with The Washington Post that said “the misguided call for the United States to exert unilateral control over ICANN does nothing to advance free speech because ICANN, in fact, has no power whatsoever over individual speech online. ICANN… supervises domain names on the Internet. The actual flow of traffic, and therefore speech, is up to individual network and platform operators.”