The Internet has connected human beings in a profound way. However, with the ease of sharing and sending, the Internet also bestows its users with the ability to manipulate the truth. “The Internet has become a platform for publication that is very broadly used and offers lots of opportunities for people to both publish and revise...,” said John C. Gonzalez, Director of Engineering at the Internet Archive. “For example, when politicians go from promoting certain information or beliefs one day, to not wanting them discovered the next (because it’s suddenly inconvenient), maintaining a historical record is crucially important to giving people honest, accurate information.”
The Internet Archive, known for it’s webpage time machine the WayBackMachine, was founded with the intention of building an Internet library to maintain this historical record. Collaborating with institutions like the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian, the Archive works to prevent the Internet— this medium with major historical significance —and other "born-digital" materials from being manipulated in the present or disappearing into the past. Gonzalez describes the activities of the organization as “gathering, archiving, and serving of information as an educational and historical resource. It’s mission is to preserve digital representations of physical materials and make that content more broadly available to the public.” The end-goal of the Archive is universal access to all knowledge, or all published works of humankind via its websites archive.org, openlibrary.org, and archive-it.org.
The end-goal of the Archive is universal access to all knowledge, or all published works of humankind via its websites archive.org, openlibrary.org, and archive-it.org.
There are groups that benefit from other’s lack of information. By censoring the Internet they can take advantage of other people’s lack of understanding, and they recognize the Internet Archive as a threat to this malicious ability so they try to take it down. As Gonzalez put it “one type of threat to our organization happens when determined individuals or groups have a strong objection to published content that is available on or through the archive. At times, these folks conclude that blocking access to that specific content, content of that type, or even all content on the archive should be their mission. They, then take actions, usually DDoS attacks, to try to make the content unavailable (or non-existent).“ These attacks are difficult to manage because they’re costly, can knock services offline, and can happen at any time.
An organization fighting to make information available to the people should not face financial burden or technical woe at the hands of malevolent actors. To help combat these threats Cloudflare offered The Internet Archive Project Galileo protection. Project Galileo is gratis, enterprise-grade DDoS mitigation that protects the Archive from even the Internet’s largest attacks; providing the Archive with the freedom to continue offering universal access to knowledge, enfranchising the public with The Right to Know, with the peace of mind that they’re service is protected.
The right to know is the idea that human beings should have unfettered access to knowledge about the past so they can change and adapt the future accordingly. As Gonzalez puts it “the perspectives and point of view that many observers have had on historical events is essential for future citizens to get a holistic understanding and appreciation for what has gone before. Ideally, this provides the best chance to avoid repeating mistakes and misfortunes. So time, energy and resources can instead be applied to new frontiers.”
The archive continues to offer access to helpful information; believing that people, by knowing what has already been understood, can make true, forward progress. “Generally, our opinion is that it is the right of all global citizens to be able to read and understand any works that have been published with the intent of public use and exposure,” said Gonzalez. “This is important because an individual’s use and integration of previously gathered information, know-how, and experiences has been central to the progress of invention, social advancement and societal progress.”
“...when politicians go from promoting certain information or beliefs one day, to not wanting them discovered the next (because it’s suddenly inconvenient), maintaining a historical record is crucially important to giving people honest, accurate information.”
John C. Gonzalez
Director of Engineering at the Internet Archive
“Project Galileo makes it possible for Internet Archive to make use of some of the powerful tools and services Cloudflare has to offer. These tools help us to both protect our patron privacy, and maintain patron access to the content of the Archive.”