Mashable and a number of new outlets are covering the story that a Manhattan judge has ordered Google to reveal the real identity of a blogger in relation to a defamation of character lawsuit filed by a model. If this ruling stands then the precedent will be set and all online communities and the people who set them up and manage them will have the spectre of violating privacy agreements with members.
Now, for the record, if revealing the identity of a blogger or community member helps to solve a violent crime then I am all for it. But in the case of the suit in question, the model took offense to an opinion made by a blogger about her. In the US we have the right to free speech no matter how moronic, hate-filled and childish it may be. In this case the judge based her ruling on the fact that the term 'whore' was used, which she said proved the model's contention that she was being accused of sexual promiscuity. The problem is that much worse words are used every day in rap music and over the last few years the presidents and other politicians have been compared to everyone from the Joker to Hitler and there are no lawsuits.
I think the Judge is walking a fine line on this one and the result of this case could have a chilling effect on community building online.