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Citizen reporting on a web without borders

soapboxHello, my name is Ruben and I am conflicted. I am struggling to find harmony in what I am about to say.  Maybe it will become clear to me once I finish this post. Regardless, once posted I will never speak of it again.

Over the weekend Techcrunch posted a wonderful opinion article about moral conscience and citizen reporting. Here is my problem, though I agree with the article, who really owns moral objectivity on the web?

Basic moral understanding of life and the fragility of such would seem fundamental across the societies of our world, however cultural identities at times conflict when groups of people clash.  What would seem wrong in our eyes is justified by those who would challenge our identity.  What I am getting at is this, the web creates a world identity that brings together social ideologies that would otherwise not mix.

Do I get offended when extremist have beheading videos on the web? Absolutely! Should the web remove them due to my objections? No.  My moral conscience goes beyond that of biology, it was incubated by the culture that I identify with.  Thus my understanding why women should be covered from head to toe is limited and the pragmatic knowledge of capturing death may be lost on me due to the distance I am from the event.  I do not see the moral justification needed when my land was not taken, my people are lost, or my identity is challenged but it does not mean my values should supersede that of the author’s intent.

The web’s world identity is a mash-up of the subcultures identified by it’s population.  Limitations, censorship, moral filters that help define a society are removed once you traverse on the world wild web.  You can no longer rely on the protection mechanism that help protect your identity like your government, police or family.  There is no practical way to police the web for the safety of it’s new citizens.

So what does all this means?  It means for the first time, each individual will have to protect themselves and use their moral identity to justify what should be viewed.  Because there is a link of a beheading that I know I will object to, I can make the choice of not clicking on it and protect myself.  I control what can or cannot be viewed during my virtual travels.  And it is for that reason why the web is so powerful.  For the first time, I am allowed to decide what I will or will not view.  Not my government, not my police, and not my society will dictate that for me.  The web has created a new identity for the world and the world has created a new identity for the web, individual morality.

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