Let’s Save the Internet Before Trump ‘Makes it Great’ in His Own Way

Internet Archive, the biggest library of the web’s history, which has been backing up numerous website pages on a daily basis for the past 20 years via the Wayback Machine, now feels the need to have a copy of their private database outside United States jurisdiction, in Canada.

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Reportedly, the online library is threatened by the current President-elect Donald Trump’s vision to censor the internet and is driving a crowdsourcing campaign to raise funds for their new archive to be set up in Canada.

Among various other radical changes promised by Trump during his campaign, censorship of the internet was another thing that the President-elect wishes to enforce, which puts the archive in potential danger.

“Throughout history, libraries have fought against terrible violations of privacy — where people have been rounded up simply for what they read. At the Internet Archive, we are fighting to protect our readers’ privacy in the digital world,” the company stated.

If they’ve a copy of their servers in Canada, the database will stay safe from US jurisdiction even if the pro-censorship Trump government chooses to enforce stringent censorship laws.

What is Internet Archive?

Internet Archive maintains a database containing millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites and more.

Internet Archive saved more than 750 million pages per week in their databases. They’ve been doing this for the past 20 years. Their database of the internet’s history till date is a substantial 26 petabytes (or 26000 terabytes).

That's how YouTube looked in December 2011 (Courtesy: Wayback Machine)
That’s how YouTube looked in December 2011 (Courtesy: Wayback Machine)

That’s a lot of data, translating into a lot of server space and bandwidth required to store it online — which again costs money. The company also employs 150 people from across the globe from different professions — engineers, archivist, librarians and book scanners.

Using the Wayback Machine, any internet user can scroll through a given website’s archive, even if it has been taken down by the website now. The company claims that it still archives 300 million web pages every week.

As the company puts it is ‘a library’, and ‘at risk’. This library can be used to access archives from over 20 years of internet era — presents you with an unbiased and uncensored history of things on the internet.

Internet Archive aims to ‘give access to all knowledge’ for free and forever.

The non-profit library doesn’t run ads on its network since they track user behaviour and also doesn’t store a user’s IP address — owing to the fact that they value user’s privacy a lot.

Help Save the Internet’s Largest Library

The biggest internet library is currently aiming to create an Internet Archive in Canada to save its users from potential censorship, and they’re looking for donations to make that happen.

Humble beginning of Facebook (October 2008) - Courtesy: Wayback Machine
Humble beginning of Facebook (October 2008) – Courtesy: Wayback Machine

“So this year, we have set a new goal: to create a copy of Internet Archive’s digital collections in another country. We are building the Internet Archive of Canada because lots of copies keep stuff safe,” says Brewster Kahle, founder of Internet Archive.

You can contribute any amount of money you can afford here. The contributions are tax deductible as Internet Archive is a registered non-profit organisation.

“This will cost millions. With your support, we have the opportunity to build the digital library of the future. A place where you can go to read, learn and explore. A place where your personal information remains private,” he added.

Helping them set up a server in Canada can help save the internet’s history from being distorted and erased in many cases. In Orwell’s words: ‘The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became the truth.’

To avert living in a society where information is censored to suit the need and greed of a select powerful few, I’d encourage the readers to make a contribution towards Internet Archive’s new project in Canada.

It’s unclear as to what the future beholds and how exactly is Trump going to shape his policies on surveillance and censorship, but in anticipation of the upcoming danger faced by the non-profit, this move seems to make sense.

 

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