Ahead Of President Trump, The Web's One And Only Backup Wants To Make A Backup Of Itself (In Canada)

from the you-know,-just-in-case dept

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.

Given the way the world is going at the moment, that’s a problem that is likely to get worse, not better. The founder of the Internet Archive, Brewster Kahle, is worried about that prospect, as he makes clear in a blog post:

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.

For us, it 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.

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.

Ever the visionary, Kahle has come up with a bold plan to minimize possible damage from the incoming US administration, and any new laws harming the Internet that it might introduce:

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.

Creating a backup of the Web’s backup in this way would have been a great idea under any circumstances — it’s rather foolish to depend upon a single site to preserve humanity’s collective digital memory. But it becomes even more prudent given the “radical change” that may be coming. And locating outside the US jurisdiction, in Canada, is a wise move.

As Kahle says, the project will cost millions, and he’s asking for donations to help him realize his plan. As anyone who has used the Internet Archive knows, he deserves our support for what he has already achieved and made freely available through this invaluable resource. But supporting the next stage of his great project with a donation takes on an additional importance: it is not just a nice thing to do, it’s a wonderful way to help the Web become more resilient to whatever 2017 may start throwing at it.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca, and +glynmoody on Google+

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Comments on “Ahead Of President Trump, The Web's One And Only Backup Wants To Make A Backup Of Itself (In Canada)”

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96 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

You are exactly right! The past administrations and action of businesses and a vast ignorant electorate was building up to this. Trump is nothing more than a fucking Cherry on top of this fucked up sundae.

But low do the people focus on that damn cherry too fucking much. Obama did fuck all to help… all the kings agencies and all the kings men, instead of putting humpty dumpty back together again just pushed a boulder from where he fell on top of his ass to make sure the fucker stays down!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Now Trump is a book burner?

I’ll bite.

Maybe before commenting and throwing accusations do a tiny bit of reading.

Easy start are school libraries and what they have to deal with annually from both the institutional and parental ends. See how many books have tried to be banned by parents.

Then more onto the same thing being done by governmental institutions. Start with school boards and state governments changing histories and trying to rewrite school textbooks to follow false narratives or ignore true events (see Texas as an easy example).

Then you can get to the real bad stuff that places like Wayback are trying to prevent where the government limits what you can see and view online (see a lot of what the UK has been doing recently).

This is far from some paranoid fantasy.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Now Trump is a book burner?

I understand that, but the ridiculous level they go to in order to spread FUD about the Republicans is getting to be comical. Sure, call him out on what he says or does. But fear mongering about digital book burning is so far out in left field I almost have to believe the Onion wrote it.

Wendy Cockcroft (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Now Trump is a book burner?

Here’s the problem: http://on-t-internet.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/how-identity-politics-and-fake-news.html

“Left” now means “not alt-right enough.” The logical endgame is to become more extreme, more insular, and therefore more entrenched. The silver lining in the cloud is that echo chambers tend to fragment as competing factions struggle for dominance.

America needs a middle ground now more than ever.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Now Trump is a book burner?

Obviously I am against it. 🙂

If the reason for backing up elsewhere, which should have been done long ago, is to avoid government intrusion or more likely, intrusion by the content industries, then great. Do it. But to somehow make a baseless claim that it is being done because of Trump is borderline crazy.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Now Trump is a book burner?

Just because he founded it doesn’t mean he isn’t part of the FUD campaign. Just look at FB, Google and Twitter. All founded by leftists who now wish to censor “fake” news. Of course “fake” news is anything that doesn’t tow the Democratic party line.

You guys just don’t get that fear only works for so long. Eventually the wolf never comes and people quit listening.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Now Trump is a book burner?

Just because he founded it doesn’t mean he isn’t part of the FUD campaign.

Not sure the point you’re trying to make – he’s taking Trump at his word, and acting proactively.

Should he not be taking Trump at his word?
Or are you saying he’s not doing what he says he’s doing?

BTW, what’s wrong with having a backup? Surely you can’t be against those.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Now Trump is a book burner?

Baron. I know you are right here, but consider that:

“I heard an interesting interview…”

is not you citing the most reliable source.

I’m sure the AC you are arguing with also “Heard it on the TV” that “fake news” is a liberal conspiracy to silence the truth tellers.

To the AC, “fake news” is not just anything libs don’t like. It is stuff like “Obamacare to instate death panels” or “Assange feared dead” or “FBI agent in Weiner emails found dead” and other shit that is patently false, but is clickbait paydirt that is gobbled up and shared by twice as many on the right as the left.

And here’s data and examples on which side is most gullible:
https://www.buzzfeed.com/craigsilverman/partisan-fb-pages-analysis?utm_term=.owGVEB1dW#.odbrQEv5x

So don’t tell those on the left that we’re reactionary scaredy cats. At least we have a tendency to react to actual, y’know, stuff. Not that Techdirt is left. I am.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Now Trump is a book burner?

Just look at FB, Google and Twitter. All founded by leftists who now wish to censor "fake" news.

Just so you know, basically everything in that sentence is flat out false. They were not founded by "leftists" (you might be able to make the case that one Twitter founder would be considered a "leftist" but even that’s a stretch — none of them are easily defined on the silly "left/right" political spectrum. Second, none of them wish to censor fake news. In fact, all three companies have actively resisted demands that it do so.

So, yeah. Get out of your bubble. You’ve been fed a line of bullshit.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Now Trump is a book burner?

Getting quite testy these days. Guess when people shoot holes in your Trump attacks it can be frustrating. The fact that you don’t see the correlation between the leftist media blaming “fake” news for causing Hillary’s loss as the first step to controlling the news and therefore the message is sad. Hillary lost because the left, even with near full control of the mainstream media, does not control the “news” anymore. There are lots of independent sources to get the word out. The left is coming for them. All the smokescreen of Trump wanting to control libel laws is to distract from what the left is actually going to attempt to do and control all media. They will use the social media platforms to attempt to shutdown the independent sources.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Now Trump is a book burner?

I have seen NRA-people calling several non-moderate members of the republicans communists. There is apparently a “right right wing” and a “wrong right wing”. Apparently they agree that every other right wing is the wrong right wing! If you go far enough out in those disagreements you eventually end up in “you against the world” and everybody being against you. It is quite fascinating to see how little extremists have in common.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:10 Now Trump is a book burner?

(‘Hypocritical’. The word you’re looking for is ‘hypocritical’, not ‘silly’.)

But of course, making laws based upon that other book is absurd, anyone can write a book, why should laws be made simply based upon what some heathen wrote a couple hundred years past!

Their ‘book’ however is a divinely inspired tome filled with holy commands delivered and/or inspired by nothing less than the creator of life, the universe and everything, and as such it’s only common sense to make laws based upon such perfection, and only a heretic would have the audacity to say otherwise. If they don’t want to live in a country with laws based upon perfection then they can go live in North Korea or some other heathen country!

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Now Trump is a book burner?

Getting quite testy these days.

No. Just sick of idiots who view everything on a left/right spectrum that isn’t even remotely accurate. You keep attacking ‘the left’ as anything that disagrees with you.

Also, I notice that rather than respond to the multiple factual errors you made, you just attack me based on more falsehoods. This is not symptomatic of "the left" or "the right" but of foolish blowhards who identify more with a team than with reality. Stop identifying with a team and start learning.

The fact that you don’t see the correlation between the leftist media blaming "fake" news for causing Hillary’s loss as the first step to controlling the news and therefore the message is sad.

Um. You realize that I was one of the first to call out this exact risk, saying that the blaming of fake news is stupid, and a slippery slope to censorship:

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20161123/12541536127/facebook-china-fake-news-slippery-slope-censorship.shtml

So, uh, once again, your assumptions and your facts are wrong. You’re wrong. You should stop being so wrong.

All the smokescreen of Trump wanting to control libel laws

Smokescreen? Like when he said "we’re going to open up libel laws"? How is it a smokescreen when he said it directly?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Now Trump is a book burner?

“If the reason for backing up elsewhere, which should have been done long ago, is to avoid government intrusion or more likely, intrusion by the content industries, then great. Do it. “

Glad we agree. Both have a high likelihood to happen no matter who is running for president.

“But to somehow make a baseless claim that it is being done because of Trump is borderline crazy.”

I personally have been treating Trump as he will do everything he says he will do.
So when he says he wants to open up libel laws then Wayback definitely should be doing what it can to protect itself because they would be a clear target for those laws.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Now Trump is a book burner?

But to somehow make a baseless claim that it is being done because of Trump is borderline crazy.

Trump is a straight-shooter.
Man of his word.
Trustworthy.

So when he says he’ll open up libel laws, you better believe that I’m taking him at his word.

Seems like the Internet Archive thinks the same thing.

They’re still free to take his word as his bond, no?

orbitalinsertion (profile) says:

Re: Now Trump is a book burner?

No, Trump is a libel defamation lawsuit nut who wants to change those laws. The end result of which would be easier to win lawsuits for people who think they are somehow wronged by facts being mentioned somewhere, and the disappearing of those facts, frequently with a fair amount of collateral disappearing.

What is comical is the the repeated claims of anything certain people don’t like (or understand) being "the left" and the attempt to disparage some things by doing so. (And this is actually what argumentum ad hominem is. Label person making statement as being something one can use as a disparagement and therefore whatever they said is not worth considering. Whereas calling someone an idiot while pointing out the flaws in their position is not.)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Now Trump is a book burner?

So he loves his libel lawsuits, which is stupid. But how many has he actually followed through with or won? Also, considering it is the purview of congress to make law how exactly is the Donald going to get libel laws changed?

And yes, calling someone an idiot because you assume your position is the correct one is an argumentum ad hominem.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Now Trump is a book burner?

But how many has he actually followed through with or won?

You’re missing the point.

No less than the American Bar Association has declared Trump to be "libel bully" who had filed many meritless suits attacking his opponents and had never won in court.

It’s not about "winning in court." It’s about bulling them into shutting up or facing bankruptcy. And he’s bragged about it.

As a presidential candidate he expanded that into highly publicized personal insults and smears to the extent that those on the receiving end regularly received death threats and more. As President he’ll have even more power to do so.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Now Trump is a book burner?

This is getting so crazy it is becoming comical. Do you guys sleep under your beds in fear now? I guess it will come as a big surprise to the left when the world does not end on January 20.

a) It would have been "so crazy it is becoming comical" to suggest that President-elect Bush II would turn the country into a mass torture state. Or kidnap people by the hundreds from around the world – over 100 from EU soil alone – and hold them for years – some now halfway through their second decade – without trial. Or launch a pre-emptive war. That would last over a decade and only make things worse. Or that he’d do away with habeas corpus.

b) It would have been "so crazy it is becoming comical" to suggest that many of the very people responsible for a), would be telling people that the NEXT winning candidate from their own party was an unstable loose cannon.

c) It would have been "so crazy it is becoming comical" to imagine a winning candidate having openly bragged how he would punish the media for "negative" – meaning accurate – reporting. Openly and regularly pointing at the media during his rallies and declaring them the enemy and worse.

d) It would have been "so crazy it is becoming comical" to imagine a winning candidate choosing the leader of a white supremacist fake news site to be his new Karl Rove.

Nevertheless, here we are. With c) especially in mind, you’re saying that it’s "so crazy it is becoming comical" to take Trump at his word and based on his actions.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Now Trump is a book burner?

It would be crazy to think that Obama took those powers and ran with them. Even to the point of drone striking and killing American citizens with no due process.

It would be crazy to think that a winning president said that elections have consequences. Very childish behavior. Now the shoe is on the “right” foot maybe this election will come with consequences?

It would be crazy to think that a major political party would put forth a candidate who was under several FBI investigations.

It would be crazy to think that a presidential candidate was selling influence through their foundation while secretary of state.

It would be crazy to think the president and secretary of state would concoct a story about a YouTube video causing an attack on an embassy. Then still telling that story to the UN weeks after it was debunked.

I could go on.

So there are lots of good reasons to archive the archive, but Trump isn’t one of them. It is just more FUD from the left.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Now Trump is a book burner?

So there are lots of good reasons to archive the archive, but Trump isn’t one of them. It is just more FUD from the left.

"We’re going to open up libel laws, and we’re going to have people sue you like you’ve never got sued before." – DJ Trump

Sure. Just FUD.

crade (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Now Trump is a book burner?

Except quoting Trump is meaningless. Anything he has said he will have contradicted or soon will contradict. Here’s another recent quote for you:
“I am going to work very hard to repeal [Lyndon Johnson’s] language and to protect free speech for all Americans.”

So there you go, he’s going to work very hard to protect all american’s Freedom of speech. Nothing to worry about 🙂

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Now Trump is a book burner?

Yes, Obama has gone more into drone strikes. But he shut down the kidnapping and torture. He’s repeatedly tried to shut down Guantanamo, but even still I think it’s a shocking lack of leadership that he hasn’t succeeded.

Being investigated means nothing; not when one is cleared. Especially when – on email handling alone – there were/are similar investigations for the entire previous White House, the last two Secretaries of state, Mitt Romney, and 2016 candidates Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Rick Perry and Bobby Jindal.

Expand that criteria beyond email servers and into outright fraud, and you can include Trump.

Your “selling influence through their foundation” claim is no more than an accusation, the sort that could be made about any prominent candidate in either party.

Your Benghazi fantasy is pure wingnuttery. Really. C’mon; people have had time to look it up.

So there are lots of good reasons to archive the archive, and Trump is a big one. Based on both his promises and his actions.

The Wanderer (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Now Trump is a book burner?

If being under investigation was a disqualifier for being a legitimate candidate for office, then anyone who could cause an investigation to be initiated would have veto power over what candidates can run for office, and thus could make sure no one they disagree with ever gets into office.

It is true that in this case, the investigation was being carried out by an arm of the executive branch, during a period when the executive branch was under the control of people who theoretically support the candidate in question. However, the investigation was prompted by political pressure from people who oppose that candidate, and refusing to investigate would have carried its own political costs; as such, the origin of the investigation lies with those in opposition.

(Not to mention that Trump himself has been under various kinds of investigation this entire time; he’s even used one of them as a defense of a highly nonstandard lack of transparency in one particular area. If being under investigation were a disqualifying factor, neither of the nominees this time around would have been eligible – and, most likely, neither would any of the unsuccessful candidates from the major-party primaries.)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Now Trump is a book burner?

I see that you insist on dividing political opinion on left/right axis. That is a poor axis for evaluating opinions in these comments, which are much more driven by where on an anarchy to totalitarian axis the commenter political views are. By using the left/right axis to inform your political opinions, you are allowing the totalitarians to increase their power, and they will create a world in which you are a serf, and they lord it over you , and it make no difference to the serfs whether the lords are on the political left or right..

Jim says:

Re: Now Trump is a book burner?

He could be. Look at the people he has chosen to interview for his advisors roles, and his leadership roles. Some want book burning. Restriction of liberties, and punishment for being different. Totally unamerican. Totally un white hat. But, here is the scarey part. Who would you trust to say, that’s wrong?

Anonymous Coward says:

Canada not such a great choice

Based on articles here at Techdirt over the years, my understanding is that Canada’s privacy laws and, worse, their libel laws, make it a bad choice for a non-US backup. Maybe this was picked because it was the best of a bad lot (UK looks bad too, at the moment), but I’d rather see the archive hosted somewhere a bit less friendly to censorious plaintiffs and bureaucrats.

crade (profile) says:

“And locating outside the US jurisdiction, in Canada, is a wise move”

Even though I love the investment here in Canada, if I were speaking objectively, I would say picking a country less under the U.S.’s thumb would probably be better for their purposes.

Putting your backup in Canada unfortunately does not much shelter you from U.S. gov’t restrictions.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Re:

It does shelter you if you set up a different organization to run it. That organization could ignore US government and court orders.

In any case, Canada isn’t “under the US’s thumb.” In recent years it (officially, at least) stayed out of Iraq. It passed on ballistic missile defense. It passed on “shared” control of it’s port and border security. There are passport controls and other obstacles on the border for the first time ever.

Trade has given the US too much influence. But from wheat to lumber to trucking to livestock to manufactured goods, the US refuses to honor NAFTA. And so Canada has been signing free trade and investment deals with other counties left and right, including now one with the EU. Yesterday it approved the major expansion of a pipeline taking Alberta crude to the left coast for export to Asia, rather than south to the US.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

At the same time, Canada did little if anything to fight for Keystone XL when it was held up on the US side. Nothing more than a politician’s usual expression of deep personal concern over whatever the current issue.

Probably because sending the oil to either coast and on to other markets is better for Canadian sovereignty.

Anonymous Coward says:

Maybe they recognize an authoritarian when he very obviously presents himself as one and understand the dangers any authoritarian regime poses to unfettered information. I donated because even if Trump ends up being the best democratic President in American history this election was clarifying to me. You have to proactively maintain and protect important institutions like the Internet Archives.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“Obama has issued executive orders at a lower rate than any President in the last 100 years. “

I’m not sure I agree with your numbers here Roger. If by rate you mean total per President, then Ford and Kennedy had less (1 term Presidents). If you mean per year, then Nixon had less in his second term than Obama and GWB tied him in his second term.

Maybe you mean average number of orders per year for their entire Presidency? That might be more true, but remember he’s not done yet.

Now, if you mean the number of “Restricted” Executive orders, you would be dead wrong. Obama has the last 6 Presidents smoked on that one.

“Although the current administration has issued fewer executive orders than other modern administrations, the figures below show that its total usage of restrictions in executive orders and proclamations exceeds that of any of the past six administrations, with the exception of Clinton’s first term. “

https://www.mercatus.org/publication/measuring-content-not-just-number-executive-orders-and-proclamations

Disclaimer; Some of the data appears to be inconsistent, so the numbers vary based on source. Wiki seems to be different than ucsb.edu, and it’s numbers for Obama dont seem to be current as ucsb.edu.

http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/data/orders.php

I would agree that saying it’s very low in numbers is fair. But I don’t think he wins the door prize as the substance of his orders are fairly damning if you choose to believe the research.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Might be a stupid question but...

Why have one backup when you could have many? I know the archive has got to be massive, but break it up into manageable chunks, put it up on a torrent site(or several) and I imagine you’d have plenty of people willing to download and host various pieces, to the point that if one or two went down for whatever reason there’d be half a dozen backups just waiting.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Might be a stupid question but...

I’d go further and allow ordinary folks like you and me offer some space to backup. You could store pieces of the archive all around the net via volunteers. You download some app and give it the space you can. It would create an ID and register as a backup helper assigning more trust as your copy keeps being available and stable over time.

I couldn’t possibly do it technically but I hope the idea flies.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Might be a stupid question but...

I know the archive has got to be massive, but break it up into manageable chunks, put it up on a torrent site(or several) and I imagine you’d have plenty of people willing to download and host various pieces

There’s a group of people working on this. You can join if you have a few hundred gigabytes of free space.

Anonymous Coward says:

This is why I’m so glad that Trump won, having spent the last 8 years warning people that Obama never was the benevolent humanitarian he pretends to be, as his covert actions have repeatedly proven. Fear and mistrust of the government should be ingrained in all of us, at all times, no matter if that government is headed by a smooth talking salesman who’s easy to love or an angry demagogue who’s easy to hate, because backstage behind the curtain there may be very little difference between the two.

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