A council (not ours thankfully) is taking social media giant Twitter to court to try and unmask a blogger who has accused councillors of grossly unfair election practices.
In South Tyneside matters have become so bad that the local council has taken moves that could redefine privacy and free speech not just in the UK and the US but potentially in the entire world.
The problem is Mr Monkey, a local political blog.
Mr Monkey claims that South Tyneside councillors interfered with postal votes and then threatened to sue a voter who dared to complain. Mr Monkey also alleges that there was then an attempt by the Labour party to cover up crimes of interfering with the post, election rigging and generally being not-at-all good leading to the placement of David Milland as the MP for the safe seat there as a replacement for a hastily removed council member.
Unsurprisingly the apparently litigation happy leader of South Tyneside Council seems to lead a litigation happy council. Not to mention the fact that the blog, if shown to be true, could be a huge embarrassment for the Labour party both in South Tyneside and locally. Just as they were starting to do so well too...
Disclaimer: South Tyneside Council would like to sue Mr Monkey just as soon as they find out who he is. His allegations are not all ruthlessly backed up with evidence and while they ring true to me there is no saying that the author behind Mr Monkey has enough evidence to prove everything. For this reason I am in now way suggesting that the posts are 100% true even though they sound likely. They are, at this stage, untested in court.
Meanwhile South Tyneside (and one imagines the Labour party) are taking on Twitter themselves to try and unmask the author. This appears to have included demanding the twitter account details of a number of people including councillors who had used twitter to hold private correspondence with constituents.
Fortunately we in Thanet appear to be protected by the fact that TDC couldn't find their own way out of an open box let alone sue a big company. Even so it is something to be slightly worried about.