The Internet Archive, a U.S. non-profit that has been archiving the internet for the last two decades, wants to make a duplicate copy of its vast digital library on computer servers in Canada.  

It says it fears what Donald Trump could do to internet freedom, once he becomes the president of the United States.

The San Francisco-based organization states its mission is to give "everyone access to all knowledge, forever — for free."

The non-profit says its digital library includes millions of free books, videos, software and music and websites, including more than 279 billion web pages it has made copies of over the past 20 years.

In an interview with CBC Radio One's Radio West, founder Brewster Kahle explained his organization is planning to duplicate itself on computer servers in Canada, due to "uncertainties that are coming up in the United States."

Homepage of the Internet Archive

Internet Archive hosts millions of websites, photos, videos and e-books. (Internet Archive)

"We don't know what is going to happen. We can just take the candidate, now president-elect Trump at his word," he said.

"His statements about privacy and surveillance, net neutrality, freedom of the press, closing up part of the internet — at least we should take him at his word at this point."

Internet Archive is already working with several Canadian universities, Kahle said, explaining that Canada is the logical place to set up a digital library.

"Canadian Law is actually quite friendly to digital libraries, which is really terrific," he said.

Lessons from history

Kahle says history should act as a lesson on what can happen to the important library collections of the world.

"We all hark back to the [ancient] Library of Alexandria as the great library, but it's best known for not being here anymore," Kahle said.

If they had made another copy and put it in India or China, we would have the other works of Aristotle and the other works of Euripides, so let's not make the same mistakes of the ancient Egyptians / Greeks."

Internet Archive is looking at either setting up its backup site on computer servers at a Canadian university or buying a building to set up its own servers.

With files from Adrian Nieoczym and CBC Radio One's Radio West

To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: Internet Archive duplicating itself in Canada, over fears of a Trump administration in the U.S.