Intimate Photos HACKED – She Was BLACKMAILED

Patricia Franquesa, a Spanish film director, was relaxing in a Madrid cafe in 2019 when some thieves snatched her laptop. Then, three months later, she received a blackmail message from hackers who’d inspected the contents of her had drive. The demanding parties offered her a simple choice:

Pay up, or every potentially compromising private photo they found on her computer would be leaked to the public.

Franquesa had no way to know—and still does not know—whether the extortionist and the laptop thief were the same person. But as a director, she found herself in the unique position of being able to document a common experience that has rarely been documented: being victimized by forces one can not control.

The result is her new film, which just saw its premier showing at the Sheffield Documentary Festival.

Creating a documentary from her experience, Franquesa said to BBC News, was her way of establishing power in the situation. It gave her something in the process that she could control, which helped her to protect herself. In turning the entire experience towards art, it also gave her a sense of dissociative distance, creating a protective bubble around her emotions. This distance, she said, didn’t just cushion her emotions, it also helped her process what was happening to her.

She commented ironically that she found it “darkly appropriate” that such a problem came to a documentary filmmaker. It presented to her the kind of opportunity that doesn’t come around every day.

The capture of, and storage of, intimate photos is normal to a generation of people who have grown up with smart phones and the internet, but it does expose people who do so to a vulnerability that most people didn’t face in generations previous. Franquesa talks about the differences between her parents’ generation and her own—her father may have taken photos of her mother as part of the couple’s private life, but for Franquesa’s generation taking photos of oneself and sending them to a partner is one of the accepted forms of intimacy.