- Reuters

A Texas lawyer has filed a lawsuit against "revenge porn" site Pink Meth, which has moved to the encrypted Tor network to evade legal proceedings.

Attorney Jason Lee Van Dyke accuses the site of distributing child pornography, and gaining unauthorised access to private nude photos, but goes one step further in accusing Tor of conspiring with Pink Meth to operate the site.

For Van Dyke, there was a "meeting of the minds" between the site's creators and Tor. The site hosts pictures of naked women, some sent by vengeful ex-lovers, alongside links to their social media accounts and contact details.

The site was temporarily closed down but has since re-opened using different web addresses.

College student Shelby Conklin, whom Van Dyke represents, claimed that she suffered harassment after nude photographs of her were published on the site, and was forced to buy a handgun to protect herself. She is suing the site for $1 million.

Van Dyke claims in the suit that Tor is one of a number of "unscrupulous internet service companies" that "allow illegal websites like Pink Meth to remain anonymous and difficult for authorities to shut down".

He alleges that Tor might be able to identify the operator of Pink Meth, who remains anonymous.

It is the first time a lawsuit of this type has been filed against Tor, which ensures user anonymity by encrypting data and relaying it through other computers connected to the network.

Pink Meth's founder, who uses the alias Olaudah Equiano, the name of an 18th-century anti-slavery campaigner, told Vocativ that the suit was doomed to fail, as Tor simply does not keep the data it is alleged to hold.

"Domain registrars unfortunately choose to suspend any and all of our domains after they get contacted by a threatening attorney like Jason Van Dyke," Equiano says. "A project like Pink Meth is simply much more suited as a hidden service as opposed to a regular website."

A number of US states have outlawed revenge porn sites, while Texas awarded $500,000 (£300,000) in damages to one victim whose pictures were posted on one revenge site.