(Disclaimer: This post is not intended to espouse one political party over the other)
A number of us are familiar with the Internet Archive at Archive.Org. It’s where we go to see what websites looked like in the early days of the internet thanks to their Wayback Machine.The Archive is so much more than that though as according to Wikipedia, “It provides free public access to collections of digitized materials, including web sites, software applications/games, music, movies/videos, moving images, and nearly three million public-domain books.” It can almost be considered a public service to the whole of the internet.
Recently, the curators of the Archive made their intentions known that they plan to create a new backup center in Canada. Normally this is just good security to have all their data backed up in off site storage, however that’s not the main reason as to why they’re backing up north of the border. According to reports, the digital library said they were using a Canadian site for backup over fears of surveillance during the upcoming Donald Trump presidency.
“On November 9 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,” said a blog post from Brewster Kahle, founder and digital librarian at the organization.
While the Internet Archive is a private entity and are free to back up their data anywhere they see fit , to some this may seem like a sour grapes move after the election didn’t go the way they may have wished. For example, one of the biggest and most sweeping surveillance programs in US history, PRISM, took place under the Obama administration, yet there were no massive tech runs to the border at that time. Sadly, this sounds an awful lot like all those people who claimed that they were moving to Canada if Trump won the election, but again there are no massive rushes to the northern border.
While President-Elect Trump may want to put some surveillance program in place that are reminiscent of the McCarthy era, he still has an uphill battle as far as enacting any of his supposed Bond Villain-like plans. Not only will the Democrats in Congress oppose him at every turn but he has also disenfranchised many within the GOP. While the outlook may indeed appear bleak to many, there is no guarantee of dystopia.