“If we receive €200 worth of Bitcoin within 24 hours, your information will be permanently deleted from our servers,” the email said in Finnish. If Jere missed the first deadline, he’d have another 48 hours to fork over €500, or about $600. After that, “your information will be published for all to see.”
Jere had first gone to Vastaamo when he was 16. He had dropped out of school and begun to self-harm, he says, and was consuming “extreme amounts” of Jägermeister each week. His girlfriend at the time insisted he get help; she believed it was the only way Jere would see his 18th birthday.
During his therapy sessions, Jere spoke about his abusive parents—how they forced him, when he was a young kid, to walk the nearly 4 miles home from school, or made him sleep out in the garden if he “was being a disappointment.” He talked about using marijuana, LSD, DMT. He said he’d organized an illegal rave and was selling drugs. He said he’d thought about killing himself. After each session, Jere’s therapist typed out his notes and uploaded them to Vastaamo’s servers. “I was just being honest,” Jere says. He had “no idea” that they were backing the information up digitally.