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With the tools and data available in the digital domain, citizens are very well able to reconstruct what happened and thus discover ‘the truth’.
What can you do against regimes and armies that provide no or little information about incidents, bombings, torture or abuses? The citizen detective finds out by himself.
They’re the new eyes and ears of democracy. Organisations of citizen detectives, internet investigators and blogging experts. Every day, they gather new and relevant information from everything going around the worldwide web and social media. Data about geolocations, acts of violence, the people involved, destruction, airstrikes, torture, shipping routes, weaponry, targets hit and the number of victims. By connecting the data in this multitude of publically available evidence (open source intelligence), the digital citizen journalist network Bellingcat has discovered more about the downing of flight MH17 than the national commission of inquiry. A ‘citizen expert’ who has followed the JSF dossier for years, knows more than the average member of parliament. Digital technology is changing the relationship between state and citizen. Faith in politicians is waning, but faith in the power of citizens is on the rise.