It’s a good idea whether or not the backup site is in Canada and regardless of who is president of the United States, i.e., having a backup for the world’s digital memory. The Internet Archives has announced that it is raising funds to allow for the creation of a backup site. Here’s more from a Dec. 1, 2016 news item on phys.org,
The Internet Archive, which keeps historical records of Web pages, is creating a new backup center in Canada, citing concerns about surveillance following the US presidential election of Donald Trump.
“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.
“For us, it means keeping our cultural materials safe, private and perpetually accessible. It means preparing for a Web that may face greater restrictions.”
While Trump has announced no new digital policies, his campaign comments have raised concerns his administration would be more active on government surveillance and less sensitive to civil liberties.
Glyn Moody in a Nov. 30, 2016 posting on Techdirt eloquently describes the Internet Archive’s role (Note: Links have been removed),
The Internet Archive is probably the most important site that most people have never heard of, much less used. It is an amazing thing: not just a huge collection of freely-available digitized materials, but a backup copy of much of today’s Web, available through something known as the Wayback Machine. It gets its name from the fact that it lets visitors view snapshots of vast numbers of Web pages as they have changed over the last two decades since the Internet Archive was founded — some 279 billion pages currently. That feature makes it an indispensable — and generally unique — record of pages and information that have since disappeared, sometimes because somebody powerful found them inconvenient.
Even more eloquently, Brewster Kahle explains the initiative in his Nov. 29, 2016 posting on one of the Internet Archive blogs,
The history of libraries is one of loss. The Library of Alexandria is best known for its disappearance.
Libraries like ours are susceptible to different fault lines:
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, to quote our friends at LOCKSS, “lots of copies keep stuff safe.” This project will cost millions. So this is the one time of the year I will ask you: please make a tax-deductible donation to help make sure the Internet Archive lasts forever. (FAQ on this effort).
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.
We can do this because we are independent, thanks to broad support from many of you. The Internet Archive is a non-profit library built on trust. Our mission: to give everyone access to all knowledge, forever. For free. The Internet Archive has only 150 staff but runs one of the top-250 websites in the world. Reader privacy is very important to us, so we don’t accept ads that track your behavior. We don’t even collect your IP address. But we still need to pay for the increasing costs of servers, staff and rent.
You may not know this, but your support for the Internet Archive makes more than 3 million e-books available for free to millions of Open Library patrons around the world.
Your support has fueled the work of journalists who used our Political TV Ad Archive in their fact-checking of candidates’ claims.
It keeps the Wayback Machine going, saving 300 million Web pages each week, so no one will ever be able to change the past just because there is no digital record of it. The Web needs a memory, the ability to look back.
My two most relevant past posts on the topic of archives and memories are this May 18, 2012 piece about Luciana Duranti’s talk about authenticity and trust regarding digital documents and this March 8, 2012 posting about digital memory, which also features a mention of Brewster Kahle and the Internet Archives.